Florida’s 2020 Legislative Session Preview

Governor DeSantis kicks off Florida’s 2020 legislative session with his second State-of-the-State address. Through his first year in office, Ron DeSantis pushed an aggressive agenda forward successfully and has an average approval rating of around 65%. That’s about five points higher than at the start of last year’s session in March. He’ll once again expend his political capital pushing his agenda forward with his address. It’s safe to say that his broad support should help him once again achieve many of his priorities.

Before looking ahead to what begins today, let' look back at what happened in Florida’s 2019 legislative session. First, 3,493 bills were proposed between the House & Senate. Of those, 195 passed and 189 became law. Moreover, last year, 5% of the proposed bills became law, which is about average over the past decade. This year, 3,261 bills have been proposed.

I guess the good news is that’s less to consider than last year’s proposals but given that the session only lasts 60 days, that's more than 50 proposals to wade through per day. Where would you even find the time? The answer is, you don’t. Which is why most people won’t even see the light of day. Among the hottest button issues are the ones that would have an immediate impact in Florida including teacher pay, environment and that includes the Everglades restoration, wastewater systems, sea-level rise. Another one is transportation and the includes funding the expansion of the Turnpike and E-Verify.

There are no shortages of proposed pieces of legislation that grab headlines but won’t be going anywhere this year. It’s likely you’ll see swift 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’d be the single most important agenda item this session. 

Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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