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Florida Session Roundup

Florida’s 2009 legislative session was dominated by extreme fiscal stress and a leadership crisis.  While May 1st marked the official end of the 60-day legislative session, lawmakers had to extend the regular session by a week  in order to reach an agreement on the budget.  

Budget: Despite an earlier pledge against raising taxes, Republican Gov. Charlie Crist recognized the extremity of the fiscal crisis and signed Florida's $66.5 billion budget, including more than $5.6 billion in stimulus dollars — including money for one-time expenditures, like road construction -- and  approximately $2 billion in higher taxes and fees.  Much of the new revenue comes from a $1-a-pack cigarette tax and higher fees on driving licenses and motor vehicle tags.  

Florida Rightwing Attempts to Suppress Voting Rights with Election Restrictions

Just weeks before the end of the legislative session, rightwing lawmakers in Florida are advancing omnibus legislation that progressive voting rights advocates and legislators see as yet another scheme to reduce voter turnout and manipulate election rules to the benefit of conservatives.