Preview of Florida’s 2020 legislative session

Preview of Florida’s 2020 legislative session

Bottom Line: Governor DeSantis kicks off Florida’s 2020 legislative session with his second State-of-the-State address. He’ll do it riding a wave of support across the state. Through his first year in office, Ron DeSantis has pushed an aggressive agenda forward successfully and enjoys 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. Now about the session... 

Before looking ahead to what begins today, here’s a look back at what happened last year. In Florida’s 2019 legislative session:

  • 3,493 bills were proposed (between the House & Senate)
  • 195 passed
  • 189 became law

Last year 5% of proposed bills became law, which is about average over the past decade. Clearly, most bills won’t become law and as we’re kicking it off today – what’s 2020’s session shaping up to look like?

  • 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 for 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 won’t even see the light of day. Among the hottest button issues are the ones that would have immediate impact in Florida including:

  • Teacher pay
  • Environment (Everglades restoration, wastewater systems, sea level rise)
  • Transportation – including funding the expansion of the Turnpike
  • 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. I’ll keep you posted...

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