There's one week to go and most signs (absent some meltdown ala the 2011 session) are that Florida lawmakers will have everything wrapped up by March 9.
Now if legislators fail to approve a bill on auto insurance there remains a possibility that Gov. Rick Scott could call them back into special session to handle that. Scott himself this past week downplayed any talk of special session, but changing personal injury protection auto insurance was on Scott's to-do list heading into session. PIP of course remains one of the most highly lobbied issues of the entire session and there remains the possibility that it could all fall apart in the next few days.
But even with that it is still possible to answer the 5 biggest questions that I had entering into the session:
Will redistricting keep moving smoothly and quickly? For the most part yes. The maps are done and now it's up to the courts to decide what the next move will be. Many observers speculate that the Florida Senate map will be kicked back but even if that happens it will be taken care of during a subsequent special session.
Does the casino bill really have a chance of passing? No, no and no. At the start of the session the mega-casino bill sponsored by Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff and Rep. Eric Fresen consumed a fair amount of oxygen in the legislative process. But while it got through one committee in the Senate it floundered in the House (which is sort of what everyone expected.)
The next question is what happens next.
The casino idea is not going away, but at this point it's a matter of what form it takes next. Right now the buzz is there could be a push for a constitutional amendment in 2014.
Right after the House torpedoed the bill Bogdanoff said she had no desire to sponsor the bill next year. She said she had doubts that the legislation would get much further in 2013 than it did this year. Given that scenario then a constitutional amendment drive makes sense.
What does Dean Cannon really want? I'm not sure we really know. But if you were to guess it might have been the higher education bills including the one that will allow both University of Florida (Cannon's alma mater) and Florida State University to have wide latitude over setting tuition. Cannon in his speech on opening day warned that Florida's higher education system was "racing toward mediocrity" and he charged lawmakers to consider reforms.
The House has responded with the tuition bill - and a second bill - that not only change the finances of college but also change what it takes for college students to graduate. More on that here.
How serious is Gov. Rick Scott's budget veto threat? It must have been very serious. Scott said he wanted a "significant" increase in funding for education and wanted at least $1 billion more to go to public schools. Without too much grousing House and Senate leaders quickly complied with his request. It may not be enough to appease critics who point out that the increase doesn't match last year's cuts.
But Republican legislators have guaranteed that Scott will likely end his second session with a fairly good track record (and give themselves some cover heading into election season).
If lawmakers enact PIP reform then Scott will have gotten just about everything he asked for in his State of the State speech. His main defeat this session was his push to revamp the funding formula for hospitals. That proposal never really gained traction in either the House and Senate.
What issue not on everyone's radar screen now will blow up? Take your pick on this one. The knockdown battle over prison privatization that led to a defeat for a sitting Senate president. The behind-the-scenes skulduggery in the fight to become Senate president two years and four years from now. Or of course Sen. J.D. Alexander's push to create a stand-alone 12th university in Lakeland and his tug-of-war with Tampa Bay legislators over funding for the University of South Florida.