2019's Florida State of the State & Legislative Session Preview

Governor DeSantis kicks off Florida’s 2019 legislative session with his inaugural State-of-the-State address. Through his first seven weeks in office, Ron DeSantis has pushed an aggressive agenda successfully, seeing a 60% approval statewide and a positive 41% approval rating at the start of his first session. He’ll doubtless expend some of that political capital pushing his agenda forward with his address and what his emphasis will have an even greater impact than his predecessor given his current standing statewide. 

Before looking ahead to what begins today, let's see what happened last year's legislative session. Under Rick Scott, 3,189 bills were proposed and 196 passed. If you're keeping score, that’s only 6%. But then again, 196 pieces of new legislation passing is a lot when you think about it. So, what’s 2019’s session looking like? There are 3,006 bills proposed. I guess the good news is that’s less than last year’s proposals but given that the state session only lasts 60 days, that's more than 50 proposals to wade through per day. Where would you even find the time? Which is why most won’t even see the light of day. 

Among the hottest button issues are the ones that would have an immediate impact in Florida. These being: 

  • Smokable medical marijuana (recreational isn’t going anywhere this session)
  • Everglades restoration/Lake O’ discharges
  • School voucher expansion
  • Sanctuary cities ban

There is no shortage of proposed pieces of legislation that grab headlines. Unfortunately, some such as recreational marijuana, won’t be going anywhere this year. However, you’ll likely see swift decisive action on many of the big issues early in the session to pave the path for other priorities in communities around the state. As a reminder, the only task the state legislature must complete is passing a budget. So, that’s the single most important agenda item this session. 

Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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