Thursday, May 5, 2011

Florida Senate Passes House Primary Bill

After a spirited debate, the Florida Senate passed the controversial elections bill (HB 1355) that includes a provision to create a bipartisan committee to select a date for the Sunshine state's presidential primary. On a nearly party line vote, the bill passed 25-13 with the 12 person Democratic caucus being joined by one Republican in opposition to the bill. Democrats in the chamber argued against the bill because of its new constraints on the timing of early voting (Republicans argued that it was only superfluous, sparse voting days that were being trimmed.), the stringent new requirements for third party petitioners (Republicans cited the potential for partisan mischief and raised the specter of ACORN in the process.), and one Democrat even attacked the proposed Presidential Preference Primary Date Selection Committee as unnecessary.

Regardless of the arguments, the bill passed and now heads to Governor Rick Scott's desk. Assuming his signature, Florida will now have the flexibility through the new committee to wait out most states and select a primary date that is advantageous to it while also not infringing on the early states' territory.

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