State Politics

Attempt to halt health care lawsuit fails

TALLAHASSEE — The Republican-controlled Florida Senate defeated a Democratic attempt Thursday to halt Attorney General Bill McCollum’s lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul.

Democrats tried to amend that provision onto a bill limiting legal fees paid to outside lawyers hired by the attorney general’s office.

The Senate then passed the bill (HB 437), a top priority of McCollum’s, and sent it to Gov. Charlie Crist’s desk.

Sen. Dan Gelber, a North Miami Beach Democrat who want’s McCollum’s job, had offered the health care amendment. McCollum’s position is opening up because he’s seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination this year.

McCollum filed a federal lawsuit over the health care overhaul in Pensacola immediately after President Barack Obama signed it into law Tuesday.

At least a dozen attorneys general from other states have joined the suit.

“This is nothing more than a political frolic,” Gelber said.

“He had a press con- ference every single day on this. It was nothing other than a political issue.”

Gelber’s amendment failed on a party-line vote.

The bill then passed 27-11 with just two Democrats voting for it.