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Lawmakers look to revive vetoed projects

Lawmakers continue to hope they can resurrect projects Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed last month from the state budget.

Tucked into the budget is a new $80 million pool of money that lawmakers can try to tap for local projects. As of Thursday morning, 124 requests had been filed for the “local support grants,” with 31 tied to nearly $32.9 million in line items that DeSantis vetoed.

Most of those requests match the amounts vetoed. However, several lawmakers in their second stabs at funding have downsized the requests.

In one example, Rep. Ralph Massullo, R-Lecanto, now wants $4 million for a Homosassa River restoration project, which was a $10 million line item cut by DeSantis.

Rep. Anthony Rodriguez, R-Miami, is proposing $250,000 for backup emergency generators for Bay Harbor Islands, down from $725,000 that DeSantis vetoed.

But not everyone has reduced their asks.

Rep. Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, filed a request Wednesday seeking $1.26 million for reclaimed-water infrastructure work in his hometown. DeSantis vetoed an $850,000 line item for the project.

The requests are part of a grant process that lawmakers linked in the budget to a DeSantis priority: $1,000 bonuses for first responders.

Legislative leaders have said little about the grant requests, which must be filed by July 15.

Members of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, which is made up of House and Senate members, are expected to make decisions by Sept. 15 on the different proposals, which currently exceeds the pool by more than $45 million.