Florida Legislature Does Massive Veto Override – Ultrasound Bill Untouched

Robin Marty

The Florida legislature met to do a massive override of bills Governor Crist vetoed last session, but the mandatory ultrasound bill was not one of them.

Of all of the legislation passed in Florida during the last session, few bills were as hotly debated as the mandatory ultrasound for all women seeking abortions — even those who were victims of rape or incest.

Governor Charlie Crist, in mid bid for a senate seat as a third party independent, vetoed the bill in June, saying it put an inappropriate burden on women seeking abortions.

Now the Florida legislature has met to do a spree of veto overrides, but the ultrasound bill was not one of them.

Via Sunshine State News:

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Hours after taking the reins, House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, and Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, led the Legislature during an abbreviated special session Tuesday in passing eight bills vetoed earlier in the year by outgoing Gov. Charlie Crist.

It marked the first time in 12 years that the Legislature overrode gubernatorial vetoes.

With Republicans controlling 81 of the 120 House votes, Cannon had enough votes in his caucus to override gubernatorial vetoes provided the Republicans stuck together. However, Republicans insisted the special session, held hours after the House organized for the next two years, was not a trial run for how they will govern.

“Some have said this is a way to flex our legislative muscles,” said Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, who insisted that this is not the case, arguing that the House is performing its duties as part of the legislative branch.

Haridopolos and the Republican leadership also have a veto-proof majority in the Senate, controlling 28 of the 40 seats of the upper house.

The leadership of both the House and the Senate did not attempt to tackle Crist’s veto of SB 6, a measure reforming teacher performance pay, which was easily the most dramatic struggle of the 2010 regular session. Nor did they go after Crist’s veto of a measure that passed the Legislature requiring women considering having an abortion to have an ultrasound.

Instead, Republicans focused on measures that easily sailed though the House and Senate with more than enough votes to override the governor’s vetoes, overriding eight of Crist’s vetoes by overwhelming margins.

But just because the bill was not put up for an override doesn’t mean it’s off the table.  It is expected to be returned next session, where it can be passed on a straight vote with no danger of veto by the new governor, Rick Scott, who is very publicly anti-abortion.

The more likely scenario would be that ‘ultrasound’ would be brought up again in the 2011 session, where it could now be easily passed and the new governor, Rick Scott, would sign the bill into law as he promised,” Stemberger told the web site.

Scott, a businessman, ran as a pro-life candidate and Florida Right to Life gave him an “A” grade and recommended him to voters.

“I am pro-life. I believe strongly in the sanctity of human life. I believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and as governor, would appoint judges who apply law and not impose their political agenda on the people, which was what was done in 1973 when Roe was wrongly decided,” he said on his web site.

Scott also said he disagreed with Crist’s veto.

“As governor, I would have signed the pro-life ultrasound legislation that has passed both house of the Florida legislature and was vetoed by Charlie Crist for political reasons,” he said. “This important legislation not only demonstrates that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life but also prevents Florida taxpayers from funding abortion through the federal health care plan that recently passed Congress.”

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