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Turkeys return to Tallahassee

The economic downturn has made them rare in these parts, but make no mistake: The turkeys are back.

With a surplus of nearly $3.5 billion, lawmakers are ready to dole out pet projects for the first time in quite some time. (The Senate budget is still socking away $2.9 billion in reserves, the House budget is putting away $2.6 billion).

“It’s good to have a little money again,” said Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater. “This is like the old days with the amendments.”

Latvala sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which on Wednesday included a bundle of “amendments”, aka “member projects”, aka “turkeys”, in its $74.3 billion proposed budget.

So there’s money stuffed in there for an odd assortment of things, like a Fort Walton Beach ballet school and what not.

Here’s a rundown of what made it in the proposed budget, which still must be negotiated with the House for approval, and, if that gets passed, must get by Gov. Rick Scott’s veto pen.

Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, who chairs the Senate’s education appropriations committee, proposed these amendments, which were adopted:

$500,000 - National Center for Sports Safety Training

$400,000 - Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government at the University of Central Florida

$500,000 - Center for Ethics and Professionalism at the University of Central Florida

$250,000 - Center for Leadership at Florida International University

$936,661 - Lake County Technical Center for Advanced Manufacturing education programs

$1,500,000 - Hernando County School District for targeted career/technical education

$300,000 - Gulf Coast State College Stem Center

$5,000,000 - Palm Beach State College, West Campus

$3,000,000 - Seminole State College, student center

$3,000,000 - Daytona State College, student services, classroom, offices

$2,000,000 - College of Central Florida, Levy Center

$1,000,000 - University of South Florida St. Petersburg

$50,000 - Cuban American Pro Bono project

$200,000 - New World School of Arts (Miami)

$200,000 - Northwest Florida Ballet (Fort Walton Beach)

Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, who chairs the Senate’s health care committee, proposed these amendments, which were adopted:

$210,000 - La Liga - League Against Cancer

$265,000 - Little Havana Activity Center, local services Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, proposed this amendment, which was adopted.

$510,000 - New Children’s Medical Services facility in Ocala

Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Orange Park, who chairs the Senate’s criminal and civil justice appropriations committee, proposed the following, which were adopted:

$300,000 - Clay Behavioral Health Center, Community Crisis Prevention Team

$381,250 - New PACE Center for Girls in Miami-Dade

$1,000,000 - Historic county courthouse restoration

Sen. Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, who chairs the Senate’s transportation appropriations committee, proposed these amendments, which were adopted.

$100,000 - New compost machine for Dade Correctional Institute

$500,000 - Frank Lloyd Wright Tourism and Education Center at Florida Southern College, Lakeland

$400,000 - Tampa Bay Innovation Center for St. Petersburg Technology Incubator

$250,000 - Orange County Library Research and Development

Gardiner and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Ft. Myers, proposed this amendment, which was adopted: $100,000 - Miami Science Museum cultural grant

Benacquisto, who is vice chair of appropriations, also proposed this amendment, which was adopted:

$500,000 - Broward County Sheriff’s Office for child protective investigation

$500,000 - Opportunity, Inc. Okaloosa Walton Homeless Continuum of Care

Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, who chairs the Senate’s government operations appropriations committee, proposed these amendment, which were adopted:

$250,000 - Tampa Westshore Waterways Improvement project

$129,000 - Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Building

$75,000 -- Steinhatchee River improvement project

Even Democrats got in the act. Sure some amendments were shot down, but others got adopted. Here they are.

Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, proposed this amendment, which was adopted:

$1,000,000 - Employment and Internships Program in the Agency for Persons with Disabilities

Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Coconut Grove, proposed these amendments, which were adopted:

$771,671 - Mt. Sinai Memory Disorder Clinic in Miami-Dade

$100,000 - Mt. Sinai Brain Bank in Miami Beach

Sen. Bill Montford, D-Apalachicola, proposed this amendment, which was adopted:

$100,000 - Gadsden County Sheriff’s Community and Recreation Center.

Meanwhile, the House didn’t approve any amendments. Rep. Ronald Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, proposed a few amendments of note.

$1,000,000 - St. Johns Sheriff’s Office Detoxification program

$500,000 -St. Augustine documentary film. But he withdrew the amendments. They were already included in the Senate budget.