Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Majority Is Certain, and May Be 'Super'

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Majority Is Certain, and May Be 'Super'

Article excerpt


Although the governor's race remains in doubt, Republicans have already claimed a victory in another significant arena: the Legislature.

The only question that remains is how big that victory will be when the final votes are counted on Tuesday night.

Heading into the 2014 elections, the GOP had solid majorities in the state House of Representatives -- 75 out of 120 seats -- and the Senate -- 26 out of 40 seats. They are almost certain to improve on their House majority while an intense battle for a Palm Beach- Broward County seat will determine the political balance in the Senate.

The GOP has the potential for another "supermajority" in both chambers -- which Republicans enjoyed after the 2010 elections when they claimed 81 House seats and 28 Senate seats.

If things break their way, House Republicans could reach 80 or more seats after Tuesday, while a 27-seat majority is possible in the Senate if former Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, can oust Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach.

A supermajority means the Legislature can pretty much have its way regardless of the actions of the governor. Assuming the GOP majorities remain solidified and the House and Senate are in agreement -- which doesn't always happen -- the supermajorities allow lawmakers with a two-thirds vote to override vetoes and waive rules without any concern about Democratic members.

With their current majorities, Republicans already have the ability to place constitutional amendments, which require a three- fifths vote by each chamber, on the ballot.

If Gov. Rick Scott is re-elected, a Republican supermajority is not terribly significant.

The governor and Legislature's conservative agendas should generally mesh. But leave no doubt that the power dynamic is quickly shifting toward the legislative leaders and will only gain momentum the further Scott moves into his second "lame duck" term. …

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