The Florida State Legislature kicked off the 2020 Legislative Session in Tallahassee on Tuesday with the official Opening Day Ceremony in the State Capitol. Lawmakers gathered for a joint session in the Florida House Chamber, joined by the Florida Cabinet, Supreme Court, and Department leaders to hear the State of the State address from Governor Ron DeSantis and open the 60-day window to pass a state budget and any laws the two chambers jointly agree to send to the Governor to be signed into law.
St. Pete Day Event and Chamber’s Legislative Agenda
The St. Pete Chamber will be pushing a strong Legislative Agenda for our
St. Pete Day event in Tallahassee, sponsored by Spectrum, on February 19th and 20th. This year, our efforts will be focused on advocating for our priorities in meetings with legislative leaders while continuing to share the unique narrative of St. Pete as a community.
That agenda is focused on funding for USF St. Pete, the Arts (including the Carter G. Woodson Museum), TBARTA, Affordable Housing, the Tampa Bay Innovation Center Incubator, and Behavioral Health.
Be a part of the St. Pete story by joining our Chamber and community leaders for St. Pete Day in Tallahassee here: Learn more and register.
Governor DeSantis’ State of the State Address
The Governor’s address to the joint session of the legislature touted Florida’s historically low unemployment rate, AAA credit rating, #1 ranked public university system, and lack of a state income tax. DeSantis also highlighted policies he is recommending the legislature enact during the session including funding for water resource projects and water quality legislation, reducing occupational licensing requirements, requiring employers to utilize E-verify, and raising starting salaries for teachers.
Find a transcript of the Governor’s address here: 2020 State of the State
Senate President Galvano is Focused on “Civility and Decorum”
The leader of the Florida Senate did not lay out his priorities for his last session, instead requesting his colleagues set aside “politics for good policy” and “look at the big picture as opposed to personal agendas.”
Last year, Galvano successfully pushed through funding for new toll roads connecting rural areas of the state and is expected to focus on public safety in this session. Additionally priorities are expected to emerge in the next few weeks.
President Galvano’s speech can be found here: Senate President Remarks
Healthcare Costs on the Chopping Block for Speaker Oliva
Speaker of the Florida House, José Oliva, used his opening day remarks to reiterate his commitment to fiscal conservatism, reducing university spending, and reducing healthcare costs.
The mantra, “Spending is not caring, solving is caring”, was repeated throughout the speech to his House colleagues.
The Speaker’s most ambitious priority may be the expansion of the scope of practice for nurse practitioners. As a nod to this position, the Speaker designated a nurse practitioner as “doctor of the day” instead of a MD. He also said in his speech, “It is high time we allow healthcare professionals to practice to the extent of their training.”
The Speakers full remarks can be found here: House Speaker Remarks
Check back for updates on the 2020 Legislative Session from the St. Pete Chamber.