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Ready for conference? Senate approves $70.7 billion budget

With a bipartisan vote, Florida Senate on Thursday teed up a $70.7 billion budget for negotiations with the House.

The Senate's 2012-13 budget is about $1.5 billion larger than its House counterpart. Unlike the House, the Senate plan sweeps $265 million from the Lawton Chiles Endowment. It asks local governments to pick up a greater share of hospital funding and for universities to rely on cash balances for a year to withstand a funding reduction of nearly $400 million.

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