Tuesday, January 14th, marks the beginning of the 60 day 2020 legislative session. Negotiating the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1st is the only constitutionally required bill that must pass each session. Governor Ron DeSantis (R) proposed a $91.4 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year. He included raising teacher salaries to a minimum of $47,500 a year and also focused again on a number of environmental issues. While the Governor proposes a suggested budget each year, it is the Legislature that ultimately determines the final budget for the state. In addition to the budget, legislators will consider a number of other issues. Here are some of the issues to watch during the session:
EDUCATION: Governor DeSantis proposed a $602 million plan to set minimum teacher salaries at $47,500 in addition to a new $300 million bonus program for teachers and principals. Legislative leaders have been cool to these plans so far. Some have expressed concern that local authority for setting teacher salaries being would be eliminated under these plans.
ENVIRONMENT: Expect the Legislature and Governor DeSantis to continue their focus on addressing water-quality issues, especially toxic algae booms and red tide. Everglades restoration and water-related projects are central to solving these concerns.
HEALTH CARE: Reforming the healthcare industry is Speaker Jose Oliva’s, R-Miami Lakes, top priority. Expect the House to continue pushing to allow advanced practice registered nurses to provide care independently of physicians. While the House is keen on these ideas, the Senate has opposed similar proposals in years past. Several bills have also been filed to make changes related to pharmacy benefit managers, which serve as middlemen between drug manufacturers and pharmacies and increase the costs to consumers.
INSURANCE: The insurance industry is lobbying for a proposal that would prevent auto-glass shops from offering incentives for motorists to make windshield-repair claims – an issue which has been hard fought in past sessions.
We look forward to a successful 2020 Legislative Session. If you have questions please contact our Government Affairs Practice.