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AP: Florida lawmakers back bills tied to their jobs

From the Associated Press:

During the recently-concluded legislative session, Senate President Andy Gardiner constantly warned about the threat to the state's hospitals if they were to lose more than $1 billion that now comes from the federal government.

There's a good reason Gardiner understands hospitals: he works for one.

Gardiner's employment is legal, but it highlights a common practice in the Florida Legislature. Many legislators have places where their professional lives and legislative work overlap. The Florida Legislature is a "part-time" job that pays slightly less than $30,000 and most legislators have outside jobs that allow them to spend two months a year at the state Capitol.

The 46-year-old Gardiner is a vice president with Orlando Health, a network of private, nonprofit hospitals that receives state funding. Gardiner's pay is almost $200,000 annually and it includes incentives tied to hospital performance, including how well it does financially.

During this year's session, Gardiner has cited the potential loss of federal money as the rationale to move ahead with a Medicaid expansion plan that would draw federal money linked to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The senators have so far stood fast against their Republican colleagues in the House, leading to the budget stalemate that was not resolved by Friday's scheduled end of session.

More here.

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