Florida politicians’ campaign theme of reining in government regulation could wind up being a breathless endeavor in the Capitol a while. #

To be clear, 1,700 is the number of rules passed by state agencies each year. It’s still not certain how many will trigger the need for a vote by the legislature. It will be up to agencies to decide whether a rule meets the threshold and bring it to lawmakers for approval. #

The order dumped 900 rules on Scott’s newly-created Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform. As of Thursday, five of those rules had been approved. One allows lottery officials to create new scratch-off games each week. Another amends rules regarding installation of utilities on state roads. The others involve purchasing, Medicaid reimbursements and prescription drug coverage. #

Members of the legislative staff are still wrestling with the law’s implications: can lawmakers approve all the rules at once, in a giant omnibus bill, or do they have approve them one-by-one? #

“This is incredible,” said Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine. #

+ Senate President Mike Haridopolos officially launched his U.S. Senate bid, complete with a website and plans for a fundraiser-cum-”strategy meeting” promoted by former Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist fundraiser Meredith O’Rourke. He then picked up an endorsement from outgoing Republican Party of Florida chairman (and fellow state senator) John Thrasher at the party’s annual meeting this weekend. #

“It could also be called a very busy law firm because you provide very good service to your clients,” suggested Negron, R-Stuart, a lawyer with the West Palm Beach-based Gunster law firm. #

+ Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, filed a bill proposing a constitutional amendment that would extend state senators’ terms from four years to six, and representatives’ terms from two years to four, capping terms for both at 12 years. From his statement: #

“To change the culture in Tallahassee, a place where lobbyists have increasingly gained more power and knowledge than legislators, and where fundraisers are as frequent as committee meetings, we must revisit the issue of term limits,” said Representative Kriseman. “Less campaigning allows for lawmakers to focus solely on policies which move Florida forward, and to address issues in the long-term, while still honoring the wishes of the voters who sought to place sensible limits on our length of time in office.” #

+ Paul Hawkes, the judge behind the infamous “Taj Mahal” courthouse, was again hauled in front of a Senate panel for a dressing-down led by Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Hawkes “made multiple statements at odds with the facts” during his testimony. #

“I think that 90 percent being paid for by Washington D.C. should be more than commercially viable, not only for the short term, but also in the operation and maintenance relm,” said Haridopolos. #

+ Haridopolos also expressed doubts about Scott’s tax cut plans, in light of the state’s ever-darkening budget picture. #

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