Gov. Rick Scott, once vehemently opposed to federal spending, is going to ask the Legislature (again) for the budget authority needed to apply for funds from the federal health care reform law. This request comes with added pressure: Millions in federal education grant dollars also hinge on whether Florida accepts the money.

The state Legislature denied funds for home visiting programs aimed at curbing child neglect and abuse in the state because the state is currently in litigation with the federal government over the constitutionality of federal health care reform, which allocates the home visiting dollars.

Because of that decision, the state may also lose out on the chance to apply for $100 million in federal Race to the Top early learning grants. Right now, it appears Florida is ineligible for that education money.

Amy Graham, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, tells The Florida Independent that Scott’s office is going to ask the Legislature to grant authority to the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to receive the home visiting grants.

“The governor, through DOH, has officially communicated intent to put this budget amendment before the Legislative Budget Commission at the next meeting,” Graham says.

She says the governor intends to have the state apply for the Race to the Top education dollars, as well.

State Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, has said that because the home visiting money is still allocated by the Affordable Care Act, the Legislature will still not accept the funds. ”Nothing has changed. If they bring it forward, we will reject it,” Hudson said.

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