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Cannon's Supreme Court bill is stalled in the Senate

Strong resistance from Senate Republicans to House Speaker Dean Cannon's Supreme Court plan has the fate of Cannon's pet proposal in peril. Senators Paula Dockery and Ronda Storms both say they have more than enough votes to keep the resolution from passing in the chamber. The only thing that could save it is an amendment from Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, that removes the split-court provision of the bill. Cannon wants to expand the court from seven to 10 justices and create two five-justice divisions, one for criminal and one for civil cases.

The bill was scheduled for a vote today but has been yanked from the calendar.

During discussion of the bill on the Senate floor Thursday, strong opposition was clear, with Storms saying the judiciary deserved more than a last-minute amendment in the waning days of the session. Several senators questioned if there was any proven need for the proposal, which Cannon has cast as necessary to improve the court's efficiency.

Sen. Gwen Margolis, R-Miami, attached an amendment to a bill restructuring the judicial nomination commissions, part of Cannon's court reform package, that calls for a committee to study the Supreme Court's workload and the impact of dividing it, with a report due in Jan. 2012.