Florida’s 2020 State Session & Gov. DeSantis' Agenda Pt. 1

Last year Governor DeSantis opened the state session by highlighting 14 specific issues he wanted to see addressed during the session. They included hurricane recovery, environmental reforms, economic issues, infrastructure, occupational licenses, higher education, grade school education, abortion, healthcare, school safety, sanctuary cities and support for Cubans, Venezuelans, and Israel.

Of those fourteen priorities, twelve required action by the state legislature and ten were acted on in 2019. Only the governor’s proposed changes to obtain occupational licenses and for parental consent for abortions stalled. In yesterday’s state of the state address, he first highlighted Florida’s successes citing that Florida’s unemployment rate is near a historic low. We also have a AAA credit rating plus Florida’s public university system is ranked #1 in the nation. Lastly, Florida’s crime rate is at an almost 50 year low.

In terms of policy positions the governor advanced they fell into six primary categories. The economy, environment, education, healthcare, social programs, and insurance reform. They were also addressed in that order. Let's breakdown the key parts of the governor’s policy positions he’ll be pushing over the next two months in Florida’s session. 

First up, the economy. It indicated Florida must remain committed to low taxes and fiscal responsibility highlighting the migration of people from other states to Florida, including Florida benefiting the most economically from net migration for six consecutive years. He suggested the industries best positioned for future growth are in aerospace, financial services, health care, and manufacturing. He renewed the call for an overhaul to Florida’s occupational licensing system which he’s stated is far too restrictive for prospective business owners. This is one of only two agenda items he pushed in last year’s session that failed to pass. Gov. DeSantis said, "Our citizens shouldn’t need a permission slip from the government in order to earn a living." Governor DeSantis also tied a push for E-Verify into an economic argument citing the program will ensure Floridians will experience rising wages if the influence of illegal labor is eliminated in our state. He stated that Florida needs to take care of Floridians of all walks of life rather than placing economic decisions ahead of our citizens. This is an issue that has been debated for many years but never passed in the state. It’ll be interesting to see if DeSantis’s push is enough to get it across the finish line. He also stated that environmental policy is central to Florida’s economy and that’s where new policy advocacy comes into play.

In part two, we’ll cover the governor’s calls for environmental and educational reforms. 

Photo by: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

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