The Florida legislature voted to override Gov. Charlie Crist’s vetoes of eight bills it passed this spring during a special session Tuesday, as a new Republican super-majority asserted the power of the legislative branch.
House Bill 1565 — the rule-making reform bill that requires the legislature to approve any new state regulation projected to cost the state’s economy $1 million or more over five years — passed the House 99-21, with several Democrats voicing opposition.
State Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, who voted for the bill during the regular session, said he changed his position because the bill, while “well-intentioned,” was “unworkable.”
State Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Heathrow, who sponsored the bill, encouraged his fellow legislators to “assert” their “dominion” over the executive branch’s rule-making authority. ”They call it a rule,” he said, “but if you live under it, it’s basically like a law.” That because businesses affected by new rules can be fined or shut down.
Waldman said he decided to oppose the measure in part because of the issues Gov. Charlie Crist raised when he vetoed the measure in May. According to Waldman, usurping executive power and inserting the legislature into the rule-making process could prove cumbersome, for many of the same reasons cited by opponents of Amendment 4.
Now that the measure has passed, Waldman said, “There are going to rule that are going to be good, and they’re going to be delayed unnecessarily.”
State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, said that it already takes months to pass a new rule, so adding a few more months while it awaits approval by the legislature will not make the process much more cumbersome than it already is.
Perhaps that would give the agency time to decide that a proposed rule “is not such a good idea after all,” he said.
The measure drew opposition from three Republicans in the upper chamber: Sens. Mike Fasano, Thad Altman, and Paula Dockery, but still overcame the veto.
The reason the session’s overrides generated such little debate, according to new Senate President Mike Haridopolos, was that all of the measures brought to the floor had bipartisan support.
“It wasn’t just Republicans voting for the measure,” he said after the session.
Lawmakers also voted to delay implementation of a bill requiring septic tank inspections, which will allow them to consider it during their regular session this spring, and voted to fund a percentage of the unpaid rebates for solar panels and passed a resolution.
Earlier in the day, during the organizational session:
- State Rep. Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, officially became Speaker of the Florida House and blasted the Florida Supreme Court for striking ballot measures proposed by the legislature. Haridopolos became Senate President and vowed not to raise taxes.
- Cannon later added that he would like to hold a “dialogue” with the judicial branch, which he said had overstepped its authority.
- Senate Democrats selected the first all-female leadership duo as president and pro tempore of their caucus.
- In total, 54 freshman members were sworn into both chambers.