A proposal that would prohibit doctors from performing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy is poised for consideration by the full Florida House. The House Health & Human Services Committee on Thursday approved the measure (HB 5) in a 14-7 vote. Dozens of people testified against the bill, which closely resembles a Mississippi law that is being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. Democrats on the House panel argued the measure is unconstitutional. “Once again, we’ll be passing unconstitutional legislation that will also cost Floridians more money and time while we have real serious issues,” Rep. Michele Rayner, D-St.

GOP Rejects Changes To Inflation Fund

TALLAHASSEE, FL. – With the House expected Wednesday to pass a proposal that would create a $2 billion fund to deal with inflation-related costs, Democrats tried unsuccessfully Tuesday to tweak it.

Republican leaders have titled the proposal (HB 5011) the “Budgeting for Inflation that Drives Elevated Needs Fund” — which has an acronym of “BIDENF.” Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, proposed an amendment Tuesday that would have said prices have been on the rise as part of a coronavirus pandemic-related “global phenomenon” caused by “factors such as supply chain disruptions and pent-up consumer demand for goods.”

Driskell said the House should acknowledge in a more bipartisan manner the causes of inflation. “We know that there are federal funds that support the state’s budget and that allowed us to avoid going into a deficit,” Driskell said.

On Monday, Driskell said she considered titling her amendment the “Triumphant Revenue Usage to Minimize Presence of Global Inflation Fund” — a play on the name of former President Donald Trump. But Driskell acknowledged that would “betray the bipartisan notion” of her amendment, which was voted down Tuesday by the GOP-dominated House.

Appropriations Chairman Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, said the fund is needed because of the expectation that further inflation will result in cost overruns for state government operations and construction costs.

“This bill creates a $2 billion reserve specifically designated to ensure sufficient funds are available to continue critical public services when inflation-driven cost exceeds regularly appropriated funds, necessitating agency budget amendments,” Trumbull said. “This bill should help offset the impact of inflation on our state budget.”

The House is slated Wednesday to pass a proposed $105.3 billion budget for the fiscal year that will start July 1 and a series of accompanying bills. The Senate is expected later in the week to pass a $108.6 billion spending plan, setting the stage for negotiations on a final budget.

The Senate has not proposed an inflation fund, though Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said last week it’s “worthy of discussion.”

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