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2020 Florida Legislature

TALLAHASSEE --- Florida’s next budget remains on hold pending another round of federal stimulus money, which could also dictate how state lawmakers readdress the spending plan.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he has put off formally accepting and reviewing a $93.2 billion budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year that was approved by the Legislature in March and is slated to take effect July 1.

man speaks, hands upturned
Steve Cannon / AP Photo

The Florida legislature has started sending Governor Ron DeSantis bills to sign -- a process delayed due to the coronavirus.

DeSantis received seven bills last week and signed all of them. 

While most are relatively non-controversial, one new law ups the stakes for citizen’s initiatives on ballots, and its opponents are disappointed in DeSantis’ move.

NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed seven bills into law late Wednesday, including measures that will place additional restrictions on ballot initiatives and provide sales-tax “holidays” around the start of hurricane season and the upcoming school year.

In response to COVID-19 Governor Ron DeSantis has made all restaurants take-out or delivery only and closed all bars. He’s also limited gatherings on beaches to no more than 10 people and is asking people 65 and older to stay home.  But state elected officials believe more needs to be done to help stop the spread of the virus. Lawmakers spoke about what they think should be the next steps.

Here Are 10 Big Issues From The 2020 Florida Legislative Session

Mar 21, 2020
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Florida lawmakers finished the 2020 legislative session Thursday by passing a $93.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Florida voters could be asked to open the state’s primaries to everyone, regardless of party affiliation. The Florida Supreme Court has approved the “All Voters Vote” amendment for the November ballot, over the united objection of the Republican and Democratic parties. 

Sam Thomas/Fresh Take Florida

Tucked away in a central Florida cul-de-sac of houses coated in pastels, sits a grey marker resembling a headstone. It honors the memory of black people who once called this town their home.

Efforts To Change Prison Sentences Failed In Florida's Capitol

Mar 15, 2020
Dianne Hart speaking to a crowd
JUSTIN BRIGHT/FRESH TAKE FLORIDA

As Florida's Legislature finishes its work in the Capitol, efforts fizzled that seemed promising just weeks ago to reduce prison sentences for non-violent offenders and otherwise reform the state's broken prison system.

Bryan Avila listening
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

A slimmed tax-cut package is heading to Gov. Ron DeSantis, after lawmakers late Friday sought to bolster state reserves that could be needed as the novel coronavirus damages tourism and other key industries.

News about the coronavirus loomed large as Florida senators debated the confirmation of Scott Rivkees as the state’s surgeon general.  Rivkees has been acting as surgeon general since Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed him last year, but lawmakers didn’t make it official until now.

As The 2020 Session Ends, How Did Florida's LGBTQ Bills Fare?

Mar 13, 2020
Pride flag at parade
iStock

As Florida’s legislative session nears its conclusion, it’s shaped up to be a tough year for LGBTQ residents and their supporters.

State House Cleared, Disinfected After Coronavirus Scare

Mar 10, 2020
people in protective clear clean desks in Florida House
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Clad with face masks, black rubber gloves and protective aprons, cleaners furiously scrubbed the Florida House chamber Monday after Speaker José Oliva announced that some lawmakers had attended events where other participants subsequently tested positive for the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

After it appeared the House and Senate had agreed on spending $500 million to increase teacher salaries, the Senate on Sunday proposed increasing the amount to $600 million.

Florida lawmakers are working on a plan to allow college athletes to earn money for their name, image and likeness. The move comes after California created a path for college athletes to be compensated, forcing the NCAA to consider making changes. Now with a week left in session, lawmakers in the Senate are questioning whether any potential loopholes in the bill would give universities an advantage in recruiting.

Florida Leaders Okay $25 Million For Coronavirus

Mar 8, 2020
Florida legislature
myfloridahouse.gov

House and Senate leaders announced Saturday they have agreed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s request for $25 million to help the state combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

Florida Lawmakers Resolve Key Budget Issues

Mar 8, 2020
list of Florida facts on overhang in Capitol building
News Service of Florida

As Florida lawmakers inch toward a budget deal, House and Senate leaders on Saturday announced they had reached agreement on a number of key issues, including pay raises for state workers, funding for Visit Florida and leaving intact the affordable-housing trust fund.

In 1920, African-Americans in Florida organized a voter registration movement ahead of a presidential election. In Ocoee, a white mob retaliated against black voters by killing some and burning their property, causing most black residents in the area to flee. Almost 100 years later, lawmakers want that history to be remembered and taught in Florida schools, museums and recognized in a state park.

DeSantis Sides With Senate In Heated E-Verify Debate

Mar 6, 2020
Sen. Tom Lee listening
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Gov. Ron DeSantis is backing the Senate in a heated fight over E-Verify, a move that could tip the scale in a contentious immigration battle as the 2020 legislative session draws to a close.

A bill aimed at making Florida schools safer just passed a full chamber vote in the House. The proposal includes penalties for school officials and adds members to a school safety committee, among other changes.

NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

Florida is getting closer to imposing stiffer fines for bear poaching and expanding rules against shark “finning.”

Senate President Bill Galvano says Florida legislative leadership is in talks with Governor Ron DeSantis about an emergency appropriation to fortify agencies working to combat the spread of coronavirus. Galvano didn’t give many details, but told reporters after Tuesday’s floor session the specifics are being worked out.

A bill allowing the state to preempt local governments on nearly all aspects of regulation concerning short-term vacation rentals, like Airbnb, has stalled in the Florida Senate.

The state of Florida will no longer contract with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The Coalition’s former president is under investigation over how she was able to pay herself $7.5 million over a three-year period. 

The Florida Legislature has two more weeks to move on the creation of a statewide resiliency task force. The group of appointees would provide the state’s official estimates of sea level rise, if it gets the chance.

A woman gives a man a flu shot in the arm.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

A Senate committee Thursday approved a controversial proposal that would allow pharmacists to test and treat people for influenza. The vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee sends the bill (SB 714) to the full Senate.

iStock

As lawmakers prepare for formal budget negotiations, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday signed off on a proposal that would provide a sales-tax “holiday” for back-to-school shoppers.

Bill Targeting Baker Act Heads To House Floor

Feb 27, 2020

A proposal that would require school officials to verify that de-escalation tactics have been used before a student can be involuntarily committed under the Baker Act is headed to the House floor.

Guns At Church Bill Headed To Full House

Feb 27, 2020

A controversial proposal that would allow people with concealed-weapons licenses to bring guns to churches, synagogues and other religious institutions that share property with schools is ready to go to the House floor.

Sen. Debbie Mayfield
Florida House of Representatives

As they move forward with a proposal that would allow college athletes to receive off-field compensation, Florida senators expect the NCAA to tackle unaddressed issues such as recruitment.

If another active shooting happens, lawmakers want schools to be equipped with a panic alert system. It would be activated through a mobile app. The push for this technology comes after the second anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

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