The 2011 legislative session came to a close at 3:35 a.m. Saturday after a long night of political maneuvering by House and Senate leaders. The fragile budget agreement between the House and Senate began to unravel late Friday night, when a significant majority of senators revolted against leadership and voted down two House budget bills that would have deregulated numerous professions, including interior designers. Sens. Jones and Latvala argued that forcing significant policy shifts through the budget process was unfair to the majority of senators who did not have an opportunity to vet the issues in committee. In retaliation, the House, led by Speaker-Designate Will Weatherford, unanimously voted down a Senate budget bill related to procurement by Citizen's Property Insurance Corporation.
Meanwhile, the House continued to work through more than 40 budget bills received from the Senate, while holding one budget bill, H.B. 7203, which needed to be adopted by the Senate. The budget conference report for the bill contained tax reductions as well as a number of provisions related to economic development. Included amongst these provisions was a tax reduction for coin-operated arcade machines, added to the conference report at the behest of Sen. John Thrasher, which allegedly targeted the Jacksonville Kennel Club, a greyhound racing track. Speaker Dean Cannon refused to adopt the conference report, as many House members believed that the tax reduction equated to an expansion of gaming.
Nearing the midnight deadline for the conclusion of the regular session, the Senate quickly drafted and passed a concurrent resolution to extend the session to 6:00 p.m. Saturday. A few minutes prior to midnight, the House also adopted the resolution, thus extending the regular session. Shortly thereafter, only H.B. 7203 remained to be adopted by both chambers. However, legislative rules and adopted floor procedures prohibited amending the conference report attached to the bill, thus blocking the House from striking the greyhound racing track tax reduction. Consequently, the House pulled up an abandoned House budget bill, H.B. 143, and amended the substance of H.B. 7203 onto the bill, but without the tax reduction for greyhound racing tracks. The House passed H.B. 143 and adjourned sine die, effectively making a take-it-or-leave-it offer to the Senate. Sen. Mike Haridopolis, visibly frustrated, called the Senate back into session at 3:05 a.m., passed the final budget bill approximately 30 minutes later, and also adjourned sine die.