You may have never been in public service, but you likely can remember what finals week felt like in college. That's what's going on in Tallahassee, with budget talks No. 1 and gambling talks, oh, maybe No. 15?
But here's a quick update of what's happened, based on what I know down here in South Florida.
1.) Last week other publications wrote that Gov. Rick Scott was close to asking the legislature for a special session to ratify a compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. No details on the compact have been released. Scott will tell us when he's good and ready. We know that by now. It could mean more money and some exclusivity for the tribe (likely) or it could mean some other, more sophisticated deal (less likely). Legislative leaders confirm Scott's staff contacted them.
2.) Those legislative leaders have since said the deal is dead, because the votes to ratify aren't there, between the anti-gambling legislators and the ones who either want destination casinos or more perks for the pari-mutuels.
3.) Now the Democrats today have sent out a release saying they want a seat at the negotiating table, next to Scott and the Seminoles. The release says members of the Florida House Democratic Caucus have taken a “Caucus Position” to withhold their support for ratification of any State of Florida gaming compact "until Democrats are included in negotiations between the Florida governor, the Seminole Tribe of Florida and other key stakeholders."
“We have been expressing our concerns all session long,” said Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, the House Democratic Caucus Floor Leader. “It should come as no surprise to the governor that we expect a seat at the negotiating table.” In the release, House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, calls out Scott, citing a "failure of leadership.” So yep, it has gotten even more political.
Question: When Charlie Crist negotiated the first compact, where was such a demand? Also, isn't that the idea of the legislature having the right to ratify? You'll get your turn: Have Scott work out what he thinks is the best deal, then it will come to the legislature for a vote and discussion.
What happens next? Like I said, it's finals week...
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