Today is the first day of the 2021 Legislative Session. The Governor delivered his State of the State Address. The Senate President and the House Speaker shared their visions for the upcoming session.
Governor Ron DeSantis highlighted that Florida’s open economy has led to a stronger recovery than in other states. The Governor is optimistic about the state’s budget outlook. He is against any cuts to K-12 education or infrastructure. He is proposing the creation of the Resilient Florida Program to invest $1 billion into projects that help communities adapt to the threats posed by flooding from intensified storms and sea level rise.
Senate President Wilton Simpson discussed the challenges of COVID-19 and thanked many for their efforts. He outlined his priorities, which include immunity from COVID-19 litigation, budget restraints, state pension reform, support of blue-collar workers, and Everglades restoration. The President said that pension reform is “one important change we must make this year.” He believes that the unfunded liability is the “single largest threat to Florida’s balance sheet.” He asked members to put aside politics and embrace a comprehensive plan for total restoration of the Everglades.
Speaker Chris Sprowls delivered brief opening remarks. He mentioned his priorities of early learning, protection from flooding caused by sea level rise, and solutions for black maternal health care. The Speaker thanked the members for: “being willing to blow up a workforce system that has forgotten how to get people work and for taking on a higher education establishment that seems more worried about social justice than about social mobility.” The Speaker sees the Session as “the beginnings of a new conservative vision that empowers individuals, holds government to account and prepares Florida today for the problems of tomorrow.”