Where is Siri? In a act of retaliation against the stalemate on health insurance reform, the House Democrats demanded that the Republican-controlled chamber read every bill in its entirety for the remaining days of session.
House Democratic Chairman Perry Thurston and Rep. Mia Jones met with the Gov. Rick Scott this morning and warned him that they were prepared to use the parlimentary manueuver -- Florida's equivalent of a filibuster -- to draw attention to the health insurance issues. Scott has endorsed a Senate plan to draw down $5 billion in federal money to expand health insurance to the uninsured poor in Florida but House Republicans have refused that plan and have proposed an alternative that accepts no federal Medicaid money.
Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, said he was angered by the reaction of House leaders, particularly Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Trinity, for calling the move "jihadist." Democrats met in the back of the chamber to discuss the move, calling it "the nuclear option." After debate on a bill relating to nuclear cost recovery, Democrats declared "the nuke is a go." It was 2:35 p.m.
Under House rules, House members are required to remain in the chamber as the bills are read in their entirety. Democrats employed the tactic in 2006 when Marco Rubio was speaker. Since then, the House has purchased an auto-reader named Mary. The soporific tones of an computerized woman's voice began reading SB 1388, about instructional educational materials.
After the bill was read, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Liz Porter, R-Lake City, was asked a number of questions by Democrats but she responded that she would not answer it. Other bills were brought up, and Rules Chairmann Rob Schenck moved to temporarily postpone a series of bills, except those they wanted take up. Now being read, with a fast-talking auto reader: SB 1792, the Senate president's priority bill limiting medical liability on doctors.