Pardon the hoarseness of our written voice in this penultimate issuance of Happytown™ political sparkle and splatter, but, as it stands, we are in a special session of the Florida Legislature, a session caused by the stomping feet of Florida House Republicans, who – though "talking" with the Florida Senate now – are playing stunt games with their action figures again and trying to make every afternoon a joyous apocalypse. It's like Star Wars figure-play, but the people aren't plastic, and they are dying.
State Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, made it clear on June 3 that she would try to buck the House's stubbornness on the issue of expanding Medicaid to cover 800,000 people in "the gap," even if it meant swallowing the spoon full of bitter that the Senate has produced with its compromise, a private insurance option that makes it look like we can all get along – even the Republican legislators who are afraid of poor people. To be fair, Orlando Republican Senate President Andy Gardiner is leading the charge for the compromise, known as FHIX. Also, this standoff is getting really childish, as evidenced when the House walked out on the session earlier this spring.
"I am going to stand in support of the Senate's proposal in the spirit of compromise, in the interests of advancing good ideas for the people of Florida," Jones said in a Wednesday statement, the Florida Times-Union reports. "I and House Democrats are willing to compromise even as we have significant concerns about the bill's provisions, because it's the right thing to do for the state."
That sent Jones on a sort of legislative marathon on Thursday in which she stayed up late, hours after the day's session should have ended, and answered 67 questions from her elected peers.
"Why did you decide to sponsor this bill if it has elements you don't like?" one legislator asked at the end of the evening.
"If I had not done this, I don't know who would have, but the reality is the Senate has come in a spirit of compromise. If we never send anything to the federal government, we may never get an answer back. We have a responsibility to create as many opportunities as we can. Today I am standing with the weight of hundreds of thousands of Floridians on my shoulder. ... For all of the stress that might have come along with this, it was well worth it,'' Jones said, according to the Miami Herald.
On June 5, the Legislature voted down the measure resoundingly, largely upon party lines, 72-41.