Visit Florida Would Maintain Current Funding Under Tentative Agreement

But Galvano sounded cryptic about the possibility of a separate special session to deal with the regulatory framework for medical marijuana if lawmakers don't agree during next week's session.

The special session, which will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and extend to 6 p.m. Friday, is for the "exclusive purpose" of considering an increase in per-pupil funding for K-12 education and increased funding and accountability measures for Visit Florida, Enterprise Florida and other economic programs, according to Scott's proclamation calling for the special session.

Lawmakers have agreed to create an $85 million "Florida Job Growth Grant Fund", which will provide money for infrastructure and job-training efforts. Under the negotiated terms, Visit Florida will get the same level of money it received this year.

The budget, however, allows Enterprise Florida to maintain its global offices and continue foreign trade missions. That's still less than half of what Scott and the Senate sought, but it's a significant increase from the extra $24.49 per student the Legislature approved in its budget, which critics had described as "starvation-level". He said the vetoed funding was "more than sufficient" to pay for the school funding, tourism and economic development increases. It was a move supported by teachers, school boards and superintendents, who called the original funding increase inadequate.

In the end, Gov. Rick Scott and GOP leaders in the House and Senate hashed out a budget deal that allows each of the Republican leaders to claim victory.

But Scott didn't include marijuana in his call for the Legislature to come back to town.

"Speaker Corcoran understands the importance of ensuring future economic growth for Florida's economy", Scott said in a statement.

Another priority for Corcoran was to slash funding for VISIT FLORIDA, which drew heavy scrutiny from lawmakers in the wake of a secretive $1 million deal with Miami rapper Pitbull. It also has big cuts in hospital payments, raises for state workers and money to help divert polluted water from Lake Okeechobee away from estuaries on both coasts, another Negron priority. House Republicans were adamant that the money could not be used on incentives to lure new businesses to the region.

Competing for jobs, Scott has argued, means retaining a system of economic incentives. Voters approved a medical-marijuana constitutional amendment in November. That issue was left with a Senate plan to add more than a dozen growers.

Florida Governor Rick Scott, joined by Florida Senate Joe Negron and Florida House of Representatives Richard Corcoran are set to make a major announcement Friday morning. Without legislative action, more of the responsibility for the regulatory framework would fall on the state Department of Health.

All of that would be funded by more than $300 million in vetoes of member projects tucked into the state budget passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate in early May.

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