***Update: The House just released 61 bills to the governor’s office, according to a list sent by spokesman Ryan Duffy.
They include measures to begin the 2016 legislative session in January instead of March (HB 9), protect spiny lobsters (HB 47) and increase penalties for welfare fraud (HB 515).
The clock starts today, giving Gov. Scott 15 days to veto or sign the bills, or they become law automatically if he does not act on them.
***Update 2: Two high-profile bills were sent this morning to Scott from the Senate: one tightening regulation of parasailing (SB 320) and another that would encourage more private insurers to write flood insurance policies in the state (SB 542).
Again, the governor has 15 days to act.
Original post below:
More than a month after the annual legislative session ended, about two thirds of the bills passed still haven’t been sent to Gov. Rick Scott’s office.
Blame it on the budget.
Lawmakers passed an comparatively low number of bills this year – 255. As of midday Wednesday, the governor’s office had not received 168 of them.
He has approved 86 and vetoed one, a bill that would have allowed raising state speed limits, the online “Governor’s Action Report” shows.
Here in the capital, lobbyists and others with interests at stake have been getting antsy.
Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta attributed the delay in part to the focus on the state budget, approved Monday.
Scott used his line-item veto authority sparingly there, killing only $68.9 million out of $77 billion in planned spending for 2014-15.
“At the staff level, the Senate coordinates with the Governor’s Office on delivery of bills because President Gaetz wants to make sure Gov. Scott has enough time to review each bill within the timeframe provided in the Constitution,” Betta said in an email.
The state constitution says “every bill passed by the legislature shall be presented to the governor for approval” but does not specify how long it can take to send a bill.
In any event, expect the bill train to rev up shortly.
“With the review of the budget complete, we will be sending more bills within the next few days,” Betta said.