Florida Republicans set goals for legislative session
Gov. Ron DeSantis urged Republican lawmakers to "stay the course" as the Florida legislative session kicked off Tuesday.
- But he appeared to show a more hands-off approach as his presidential campaign faces do-or-die pressure in Iowa.
Driving the news: During his annual State of the State address, DeSantis slammed President Biden and the liberal policies of other states that he says sparked a mass migration to Florida.
- He also rattled off policy wins like the banning of diversity, equity and inclusion policies on college campuses and the conservative takeover of New College of Florida.
- But unlike in years past, DeSantis did not use his speech to set the tone for the legislative session by urging support for his policy goals.
Instead, House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) laid out their priorities for the 60-day session.
- On the House side, they include limiting the use of social media sites and access to pornographic content for children on smartphones and outlawing citizen review boards that provide external oversight of law enforcement.
- In the Senate, they include bills to expand Florida's health care workforce instead of expanding Medicaid and reducing bureaucracy in school districts.
Yes, but: DeSantis did say he hopes to make it easier for Jewish university students wishing to transfer to Florida schools amid concerns over antisemitism on college campuses.
- He also has proposed $1 billion in tax breaks, including for homeowners insurance.
The intrigue: Two of the most controversial bills filed ahead of session don't appear to have the support of leadership.
- Passidomo said she didn't support a proposal to ban all abortions except to save the life of the mother. The bill was filed by Miami-Dade County Rep. David Borrero.
- Passidomo also defended Florida's vote-by-mail system when asked about a separate bill to virtually eliminate all mail voting in the state. That was filed by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia of Spring Hill.
Zoom in: Condo owners in Miami should keep an eye out on Senate Bill 1178, which would make it harder for condominium associations to sue unit owners and require them to hold more meetings and post documents online.
- The bill, co-sponsored by Sunny Isles Beach Democrat Sen. Jason Pizzo, would also require board members to take community association law courses.
What they're saying: Passidomo told reporters yesterday that the Miami delegation is concerned about elderly residents facing steep condo assessments following the Surfside condo collapse and resulting condo safety legislation.
- "I don't know the answer, but I think we really have to look at it carefully and see what we can do," she said.
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