Gov. Rick Scott - after flying to Eustis to roll out his budget proposal at an event set up by Tea Party leaders - spent dinner with Sen. J.D. Alexander, Sen. Don Gaetz and Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner.
Here's the main things that they talked about during the conversation that began in the famed Florida Room of the mansion before it shifted to the State Dining Room.
* Gaetz and the governor talked with the others about the recent decision of Vision Airlines to come to Florida.
* Gaetz expressed his disappointment to Scott regarding some recent Visit Florida ads airing in Palm Beach County. Gaetz told Scott the ads featured Northwest Florida officials. He said he didn't understand the logic of targeting people from Palm Beach County to come north to the beach. Scott seemed surprised by the ads as well.
* Alexander, the Senate budget chief, told Scott that he had had the chance to meet the new Department of Management Services Secretary Jack Miles and that he had the right professional qualifications for the job.
* Alexander also said that he just been taking a first glance at Scott's budget proposal. He was urged to "just pass it." Later in the night that theme would be repeated when one of Scott's top aides would suggest to all three senators that the nation will be watching to see if the Legislature enacts Scott's "fiscally conservative" budget.
* There was some general conversation about Scott's flight to and from Eustis being waylaid because of bad weather. Scott also talked about the crowd that showed for the event. He briefly mentioned that those in the Tea Party - who he said included Democrats and independents - don't want to be "disappointed' by those they have supported. Scott also noted that he has had bigger crowds at Tea Party events than at Republican Party of Florida organized events.
* Gaetz said lawmakers were likely to start looking this year at the operations of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, which is responsible for providing money to help developers build low-income housing. Alexander said he has begun questioning why the corporation needs any more money right now when there are plenty of empty houses in Florida due to the recession. Scott noted that he did not recommend any additional funding for them.
* Scott and Alexander started talking about property insurance. The governor repeated his vow to make changes this year to Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the state-created carrier of last resort. "Everyone understands we need to fix Citizens this year,'' Scott said.
* During dinner, Scott repeated a line from his budget rollout where he said "we shouldn't have fiefdoms" in state government. This came from a discussion on why on Florida's highways there were separate weigh stations for Department of Transportation and interdiction stations for the Department of Agriculture.
* Scott expressed his amazement that the state does not have a unified e-mail system for all of state government.
* Scott also said he is a "few days" away from naming someone in state government to take control of economic development efforts. This was part of an overall discussion where Alexander asked questions about whether or not Scott has been successful in talking to companies moving here, and what kinds of things he is hearing about those who may, or may not, move to Florida.
Alexander also asked about Scott's proposal to have more control over economic development incentive dollars. Alexander asked if Scott would be opposed to some sort of provision that states that if a certain company promises a large number of jobs then Scott has the authority to use the dollars without additional legislative approval. Scott said he could go along with that concept and said he had no problem with having thresholds in place.
* Gardiner briefly mentioned to Scott concerns about the use of psychotropic drugs on foster children. He relayed how Sen. Ronda Storms cared very much about the issue and that she would be pursuing it again this coming session. Gardiner also said that Storms had already met the new head of the Department of Children and Families and "hugged him.'
* Gardiner also urged the governor to help Florida retain - and even attract - Major League Baseball teams to Florida. Scott, who once was a part owner of the Texas Rangers, said he wants to make sure the state doesn't lose any more teams and that he wants to "put a focus" on many things the state can to help its sports teams and have people come to the state because of the teams.