February 20, 2002
The Florida House of Representatives
Today, the Florida House Select Committee of the Whole considered a proposed committee bill identical to the Senate's proposed changes to Florida's current tax structure. It was voted down by a unanimous vote of 99-0.
"As Speaker, I pledged to the Senate, the members of the House and the taxpayers of Florida to have a thorough and open debate on this incredibly important issue for all Floridians. We have devoted approximately forty hours of open, public and formal consideration to the Senate's proposal, which may be a record in the last decade for the time given to a specific proposal," said House Speaker Tom Feeney.
Due to an unusual situation of having no formal bill to vote on, Speaker Feeney implemented a rarely used procedural move creating the "House Select Committee of the Whole". This committee was created to allow any member who wanted to debate and vote on the bill to have that opportunity.
The traditional process of having a formal bill on which to vote was thwarted first by lack of willingness of any of the 120 members of the House to sponsor a companion bill to the Senate's proposed tax changes. Secondly, although the Senate passed SB 1106 on January 31st, they have taken the unprecedented step of waiving their own rules to "Retain" their own bill.
"The Florida House engaged as elected officials in principled debate, heard testimony from economic experts whose recommendations were based on the protection and growth of Florida's economic prosperity, and hundreds of Florida taxpayers that would be effected by the Senate's proposed changes," said House Speaker Tom Feeney.