July 17, 2003
Prospects for an early resolution of the medical-liability crisis remain dim. Special Session C had been extended until Monday evening, but enough disagreements remain to suggest that Governor Jeb Bush will have to call Special Session D, probably sometime in August. The governor is scheduled to leave for California this evening, and some legislative leaders have travel plans that would take them out of the state next week.
Late last night Senate President Jim King (R-Jacksonville) released what he called “a Senate proposal that we will attempt to pass.”
The degree to which this proposal mirrors the work of the negotiators is unclear. Senator King did state in the letter that he was not suggesting that the proposal enjoyed the endorsement of the House.
The outline seems to reflect substantive compromise on the part of the Senate, although the actual extent of that compromise will be difficult to gauge until bill language is available for study.
Senator King just concluded a press conference, accompanied by Senators Dennis Jones (R-Seminole), Tom Lee (R-Brandon), and Rod Smith (D-Gainesville), in which he said that he has not spoken to Governor Jeb Bush or House Speaker Johnnie Byrd (R-Plant City) about the Senate’s new legislative proposal for medical-liability reform. Senator King did say that he has spoken to Lt. Governor Toni Jennings and that the House leadership is now reviewing the proposal.
Senator King said he would not bring the bill before his chamber until the governor has indicated his approval of its framework. King did say that there was a 50-50 chance that it will fly with governor.