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Rick Scott talks budget, jobs—but not medical marijuana

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Gov. Rick Scott talked about education and tourism funding and job training in the upcoming Special Session but did not mention medical marijuana.

Scott spoke briefly with reporters outside an Enterprise Florida meeting in Tallahassee Friday, a few hours after he appeared with legislative leaders in Miami to announce a Special Session next Wednesday-Friday.

“I’ve been talking about this for about seven years now,” he said. “I kept talking about it, and we figured out a way to make sure it’s a win for Florida families … I think everybody wins here: The students win, everybody who wants a better paying job wins.”

Scott said he will veto later Friday the annual education funding bill with the expectation of lawmakers approving a $100-per-student increase in funding across the state.

He expects increased money for his favored agencies, Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA, which handle economic development and tourism marketing, respectively.

The governor did not mention the need to pass an implementing bill for the state’s constitutional amendment on medical marijuana, despite dozens of lawmakers who have said such guidance still needs to be done this year.

Earlier in the day, he did say he would be “supportive” of the Legislature adding it to the “call” of the Special Session.

It includes creation of a Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to provide $85 million for “public infrastructure and workforce training.”

“It’ll be for rural areas, urban areas,” Scott said. “It’ll (also) be for job training and that money will be spent at our state colleges, so it helps our state colleges.”

Scott also was asked about a contentious education bill (HB 7069) that he said he was still “reviewing” though he has not yet been formally sent the measure by the Legislature. The Florida Education Association has called it a “massive giveaway to charter schools” crafted largely behind closed doors.

He was asked about reports that his expected approval of the bill was part of the deal for next week’s Special Session.

“Well, the only person who would know would be me, right?” Scott said. “… I think it’s important we focus on the education system for all students in our state.”

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at [email protected]

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