Afraid to lose: Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli pulled a McNulty and halted debate at end of legislative session

Florida Republican House Speaker Steve Crisafulli took a page from former Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty on Tuesday. Crisafulli knew members of his Republican caucus would vote for the long-overdue Obamacare Medicaid expansion if it was allowed to come to the floor. So he gaveled the legislative session closed three days early.

The Huffington Post: “The decision to leave town, in what appears to be the country’s most overt intra-party state legislative battle, put many policy priorities of Gov. Rick Scott (R) in limbo.”

In 2012, Frank McNulty, a Highlands Ranch Republican, made Colorado history when, after realizing he had been out-maneuvered by supporters of gay-rights civil unions legislation, walked out of the chamber. The move suspended debate ended the session a day early for hours, running out the clock, so scrambling lawmakers on the last day tried and failed to salvage the nearly 40 bills dropped the night before. Republicans lost the majority in the House on Election Day seven months later.

Correction: The 2012 legislative session in Colorado did not end early. It went through the full 120 days. But it fell to Gov. John Hickenlooper to call a special session to finish the work left uncompleted after the McNulty walkabout.

Photo Credit: Andrew Scott, Creative Commons, Flickr.