State Politics

Florida agencies release shutdown contingencies ahead of special session

State agencies on Monday met Gov. Rick Scott​'s deadline to list critical services that could be affected by a possible government shutdown if lawmakers cannot agree on a budget for the state by June 30.

Scott got a hodgepodge of responses. Some of the documents paint a picture of what agency heads see as the most essential functions that shouldn’t be interrupted by a budget stalemate, while others highlight what could be cut in the event of a shutdown.

Some agencies, such as the Department of Corrections and Department of Law Enforcement, told the governor most or all of their functions are critical, saying that enough funding would need to be in place to keep correctional officers and criminal investigators in place.

On the theoretical chopping block: $10 billion in transportation infrastructure improvements, pre-kindergarten for thousands of students and slower response times by the Department of Emergency Management in the event of a natural disaster.

Cleanup of dangerous pollutants could be slowed. Floridians who rely on Medicaid for health care could lose access to primary care and rely entirely on emergency rooms. The Department of Transportation could have to “suspend highway lighting,” putting Floridians literally in the dark.

“Governor Scott’s focus is to keep government running. He asked agencies what critical services would need to stay up and running in the event the Legislature does not agree on a budget by June 30,” Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said in a statement.

In their responses to Scott’s request, several agencies said they were confident lawmakers would agree on a budget.

“It is our belief that Legislative leaders will reach agreement and craft a responsible budget during the upcoming special session,” wrote Bonnie Rogers, who works for Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Lawmakers have agreed on the terms of a special session for June 1-20 to pass a budget, which they did not agree on during the regular session this spring.

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