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Don Gaetz

Florida Legislature passes $78.7 billion budget in overtime

After a sprawling and messy budget fight that spawned lawsuits and finger-pointing, the fractured Republican-controlled Florida Legislature approved a nearly $79 billion budget and ended its special session Friday. Legislators were racing against the clock to pass the budget after they failed to pass one during their regular two-month session that ended in late April. The final vote was 37-0 in the Senate and 96-17 in the House. It followed two days of debate in which some legislators expressed frustration at the drawn-out budget battle caused by a stalemate over health care. The Senate wanted to expand health insurance coverage for low-income Floridians; the House did not. ...