Florida lawmakers are signing off on a tax break for the state's manufacturers — but the final vote may trigger a legal challenge.
The Florida House passed the top priority of Gov. Rick Scott by a 68-48 margin. That's below the margin that the state constitution requires for any law that reduces tax revenue that is shared with local governments.
House Speaker Will Weatherford contended that the vote was still legal, but the House refused to share any legal opinions to bolster Weatherford's argument.
House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston predicted that the bill (HB 7007) would be quickly challenged in court once signed.
Democrats objected to the bill because House members cut off debate and would not answer any questions about the legislation. The vote capped a tense, chaotic day, as the legislative session neared its end on Friday.
On Wednesday Scott signed a wide-ranging ethics bill and a separate measure to raise campaign contribution limits. He waited until the final hours before a deadline to take action on the bills.
The ethics bill (SB 2) was a priority for Senate President Don Gaetz and the first bill the Senate passed on the first day of session more than eight weeks ago. It will give the Florida Ethics Commission more authority to collect fines, among other things.
The campaign finance bill (HB 569) was a top priority for the House speaker, Weatherford, and will increase campaign contribution limits from $500 per election to $1,000 for legislative and local races and $3,000 for statewide races.
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