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Barney Bishop and the Rick Scott love affair

Can Rick Scott succeed with the Florida Legislature?


Florida's Gov. Rick Scott begins his first real test as a political leader when the gavels drop today to mark the start of the 60-day legislative session.

Much of what Scott and his fellow Republican leaders want to do in the House and Senate is highly controversial and devisive.

This may make them feel special - look at us we're taking on the big issues.

Well not really. There are often big issues and taking them on, for better or worse, is nothing new.

We can expect that the House and Senate will quickly pass some important legislation in the opening days and then for the next three or four weeks they won't do much of anything.

In the final couple of weeks of the session we will have the annual drama of both chambers disagreeing about the budget.  This will cause the Tallahassee press corps to offer dramatic prose about the how the leaders are - well pick a number, say $150 million - apart and that both sides are holding fast.

There will be a last minute revenue estimate that will magically toss a few more bucks into the kitty.

Late nights will follow. Reporters will surround lawmakers on the fourth floor peppering them with questions that yield answers like - "We're ready to move but the other chamber is just not willing to negotiate."

All of the drama will end when the Senate president and House speaker have a chat that may or may not include Scott depending on everyone's mood. No will note that 95 percent of the budget already was agreed upon. Worse, few will really know what is in the budget.

What Scott will find out during the next 60 days is whether he has any real clout with the Legislature. It is a time, when Florida's governor is really little more than the state's top lobbyist - albeit with a veto pen and mansion invitations.

Don't discount the mansion invitations and photos with the governor.  Many a governor has noted that some of their loudest critics in the House and Senate are the first to ask for grip-and-grins with the governor.

Scott rankled some legislative leaders before the session got underway. There will be an effort to remind Scott that the Legislature takes its seperate power very seriously.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham gets high marks for his two terms as governor but many forget that his first year was a disaster resulting in him being dubbed "Gov. Jello." 

It is going to be interesting to see how it all unfolds for Scott.


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