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Florida Senate Democrats Sue House Of Representatives Over Session Shutdown

Florida Senate

Florida Senate Democrats are suing the state’s House of Representatives for quitting before the lawmaking session was scheduled to end this week.

The House adjourned early this week amidst an impasse over health care coverage in the state.

The suit filed by the Senate Democratic Caucus asks for an emergency ruling that would force the House to get back to work. On Tuesday, Florida’s lower chamber quit with three days left in the session without passing a budget.

The upper chamber’s GOP leadership is willing to expand Medicaid. But Sen. Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) says House leaders refused to negotiate.

"The House is fighting against Medicaid expansion because just they call it ObamaCare and they don’t believe that the government is going to keep its promise to fund it. That’s the bottom line," she said. 

The lawsuit says the Florida House violated a constitutional provision that says neither chamber can adjourn more than 72 hours without an agreement between the two. 

It asks justices to require the House to reassemble and to extend the lawmaking session long enough to pass a budget. The 60-day session was scheduled to end at 11:59 p.m. Friday. If judges do not rule in the Democrats' favor, the Legislature will come back for a special session at a later time. 

You can follow Jessica Palombo @jessicapubradio.

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP