Budget writers to close out an agreement on courts over legal funding
Feb 29, 2016 05:13 AM EST
On Saturday, budget writers appeared within a notable range of agreement to reconcile their proposals, which amounts to $3.5 million apart after two meetings, one-tenth of 1 percent over the overall budget. Although the method the money was appropriated still have some slight differences, the general revenue was narrowed to about $441,939.
Florida Politics reported that differences in nearly a dozen line items including public defenders' funds and other defense counsel provided by the state were closed out by House and Senate justice budget writers. Inmate re-entry centers in Gadsden and Lake counties were also included.
The House's current offers provided $100,000 for a newly established branch of the 2nd District Court of Appeals. However, reports say that it was not met by the Senate. While Polk County Sen. Kelli Stargel, who represents Lakeland, is emphatically against the move, a few lawmakers from Tampa Bay wanted to move the district appellate court to a more centrally located Tampa.
The US Senate made an exchange with conditional stipulations and 'back-of-the-bill' language, which contains boilerplate language directing budgets for specific projects generally kept intact from year to year, though the items experienced some shifting. Among the proviso differences or conditional stipulations, the House presses an amount of $500,000 to study and evaluate the recent rash of deaths among prisoners in Florida's detention facility. According to Saint Peter's Blog, this is done by consolidating, cleaning, and analyzing data to measure behavior, improving results, and make data-driven decisions on how to maximize and properly allocate the resources. Meanwhile, the Senate's offer contained no stipulations.
According to Greenville Online, the $8 billion General Fund budget which was approved on Thursday also includes $130 million in tax relief, which is more than $70 million for the state that match for disasters and money to give government employees a 1 percent raise and teachers a 2 percent cost-of-living increase.
The Senate proviso proposal also contains $1 million to track inmates at the Lowell Correctional Institution using GPS tags to help study the interactions of the prisoners. The next hearing will begin at 6 pm Sunday night, said Chairman Larry Metz.