TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Legislative leaders announced Thursday that, after some false starts, they have reached agreement on a broad budget outline that will allow final negotiations on the spending plan to move forward.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, announced the deal after almost two weeks of talks behind closed doors aimed at reaching an agreement on "allocations" for each area of the budget.
Few details on the agreement were immediately available, but Senate leaders said it would include an across-the-board raise for state employees --- a top priority of Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.
Budget negotiators will hold a formal meeting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
After that, joint House-Senate committees focused on each broad area of the budget will begin to work on fleshing out details of the deal.
Latvala and House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, will take over the discussions on any issues that aren't resolved by noon Saturday; Corcoran and Negron are scheduled to step in if the agreement isn't finished by noon Sunday.
Because of a constitutionally required 72-hour "cooling off" period, lawmakers have to wrap up work on the budget by Tuesday if they hope to end the legislative session by its scheduled May 5 conclusion.
The News Service will have a full story later Thursday.