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Family Law In The News

Alimony overhaul is last bill left in Legislature

By Lloyd Dunkelberger | Herald-Tribune
Posted April 1, 2016

TALLAHASSEE — It’s the last bill left.

As of midday Friday, the House and Senate have sent Gov. Rick Scott 271 of the 272 bills passed in the 2016 session. Scott has approved 206 bills, vetoed one bill and 64 bills are pending in his office.

The lone holdout is Senate Bill 668, which would overhaul Florida’s alimony laws while also creating a 50-50 child-sharing standard, which has drawn opposition from the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar, which wants Scott to veto the bill.

Holding a bill is one of the post-session strategies used by legislative leaders. In theory, it gives advocates of the legislation more time to make their case to the governor for approving the measure once it reaches his desk. Of course, it also gives opponents time to make their counter-argument.

But the decision to send the bill to the governor is entirely in the hands of the House speaker and Senate president. The alimony bill actually received its final vote, 74-38, in the House on March 8, with a 24-14 prior approval in the Senate on March 4.

Once the bill is sent to Scott, he will have 15 days to act on the measure.

For some context, Scott, who is a conservative Republican like the legislative leaders, has not been aggressive with his use of his veto power on individual bills. With action on more than three-quarters of the bills passed this year, Scott has only vetoed one measure (HB 1355), objecting to a provision that would have allowed members of a utility authority in Gainesville to be paid.

Last year, Scott vetoed seven of the 227 bills that reached his desk. In his re-election year, Scott only vetoed one bill after the 2014 session.

His high-point in vetoed bills was the 2012 session, when he vetoed 12 measures.

He vetoed 11 bills in 2013, with one of those bills being the Legislature’s last attempt to revise Florida’s alimony and child-support laws.

Original Source: The Herald Tribune

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