Legislative Updates

The Legislative Session 2020 started on January 14, 2020 as House and Senate members gathered to hear Governor Ron DeSantis’ State of the State address. Lawmakers will take up a wide range of issues during the 60-day session, along with negotiating a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2020.

Gunster’s Government Affairs Consultants will provide weekly updates to summarize the issues of the week and how they may impact your business.

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February 28, 2020

This week the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the DCF Accountability Act, appropriating more than $5 million for oversight and pilot programs, E-Verify Legislation moved forward in the House and Senate, most Floridians agree climate change is happening in a new FAU poll, the Florida Legislature is moving forward with a bill prohibiting the import and export of shark fins, the Florida House and Senate voted on a bill this week requiring schools to install panic alarms, and the Senate Appropriations Committee approves a ‘tax-free holiday’ for back to school shopping. Read More



February 21, 2020

Week six of the Legislative Session 2020 has wrapped up and bills are moving through the Florida House and Senate. This week the Florida House Ways & Means Committee approved taxation package, school board term limits are one chamber closer to becoming a ballot measure with the House passage on Thursday, the Florida House approved bill to increase penalties for failing to stop for school buses and the Florida House voted to preempt local governments from requiring occupational licenses that are not mandated by the state. Read More



February 14, 2020
This week marked the halfway point of the Legislative Session 2020. At the halfway point, 3,470 bills have been filed, 1,977 passed a committee, 48 passed in one chamber, and 9 passed in both chambers. On Thursday, both the Florida House and Senate voted on final versions of their budget, leaving a $1.4 billion discrepancy that will be negotiated before the March 13th deadline. Read More



February 7, 2020
The fourth week of the Legislative Session 2020 update from our Gunster’s Government Affairs team includes legislation watch, state budget watch, senate reunion 2020 and events including Lauren’s Kids, Florida Keys Day and Miami-Dade County Days. Read More



January 31, 2020
The third week of the Legislative Session 2020 update from our Gunster’s Government Affairs team includes legislation watch, budget recommendations and Red Dog Blue Dog. Read More



January 24, 2020
The second week of the Legislative Session 2020 has already come to a close as bills are moving through the Florida House and Senate. Gunster’s Government Affairs team is working hard, closely tracking legislation and meeting with legislators to monitor and lobby on behalf of our clients. Read More



January 17, 2020
Session kicked off on Tuesday, January 14th with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis delivering the State of the State Address highlighting Florida’s low unemployment rate, number one ranked public university system, low crime rate and commitment to no state income tax. Read More



January 7, 2020
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. Read More


Meet our Government Affairs Consultants

Joanna BonfantiJoanna Bonfanti‘s passion for Florida politics and public policy led to her career in lobbying. She has over 15 years of experience representing clients before the legislature and executive agencies. This is Joanna’s 26th Legislative Session.

Areas of Focus:
Regulated industries like electric utilities and water and wastewater utilities are my primary areas of focus.

Policy Issue Expected to Define the 2020 Session:
I think health care and what Speaker Oliva refers to as the “hospital-industrial complex” will define this session along with environmental issues like the Everglades and water quality.

Advice for Session:
My advice is for the ladies – wear wedges or a stacked heel!

Gunster Government Affairs Consultant Ronald A. BriséRon Brisé is an accomplished commissioner, legislative leader and senior executive with more than 20 years of experience in telecom, energy, utilities, government and business. Including his time as a State Representative, this is Ron’s 14th Legislative Session.

Areas of Focus:
My areas of focus include a diverse reach of legislative policy including energy and telecom,education, and technology and innovation.

Policy Issue Expected to Define the 2020 Session:
I expect the Governor’s initiative to increase teacher pay will play a large role in this session, including the impacts the increase will have on the budget and education as a whole.

Advice for Session:
Pace yourself!

Gunster Orlando Office Managing Shareholder Derek E. BruceDerek Bruce primarily represents clients before state and local governments throughout the state of Florida on land use, procurement and regulatory issues. He has nearly twenty years of experience. This is Derek’s 16th Legislative Session.

Areas of Focus:
Appropriations and Tourism

Policy Issue Expected to Define the 2020 Session:
Generally, pay increases for certain state employees and how to pay for them. For the business community, an effort to find ways to reduce regulation while maintaining the safety of the public.

Advice for Session:
Remember, it’s a sprint… not a marathon!

Gunster Government Affairs Consultant Kevin ClearyKevin Cleary is skilled in navigating the inner workings of state and local government. He has more than a decade of legislative, executive and political experience. This is Kevin’s 10th Legislative Session.

Areas of Focus:
My primary areas of focus include environment, agriculture, business regulations and housing.

Policy Issue Expected to Define the 2020 Session:
I believe that Everglades funding and the impact on the budget will be a defining factor of the 2020 Session.

Advice for Session:
Take the time to learn the Senate and House rules handbook, but always remember that the rules can be waived.

Julie Fess has more than two decades of experience participating in Florida’s political, regulatory and legislative process. This is Julie’s 25th Legislative Session.

Areas of Focus:
Insurance and Gaming

Policy Issue Expected to Define the 2020 Session:
Education and Gaming, including the Seminole Tribe Compact

Advice for Session:
Stay optimistic and on your toes. A sixty-day session is slow in the beginning and quickly becomes fast and furious. With over 2,000 bills, filed it can be overwhelming at times. There are many peaks and valleys and issues that seem finished that can quickly be revived and surprise all involved. Stay ready and know it isn’t over until the gavel has come down and you hear the words sine die.

Greg Munson represents regulated industries in the industrial, agricultural, mining and utility sectors in all areas of state and federal environmental law. This is Greg’s 5th Legislative Session.

Area of Focus:
Environmental policy

Policy Issue Expected to Define the 2020 Session:
I think that water quality initiatives, including their impact on the budget, will be a defining factor.

Advice for Session:
Stay organized and engaged, because there’s going to be a larger number of environmental bills than we’ve seen for many years.

Larry WilliamsAs head of Gunster’s lobbying practice, Larry Williams offers more than three decades of experience representing clients at all levels of government.

Larry has worked with a wide range of clients from a diverse cross-section of industries, including transportation, entertainment, educational instruction, energy, affordable housing, regulated industries, environmental and health care, among others. This is Larry’s 49th Session.

Areas of Focus:
My experience reaches across all sectors of legislative policy.

Policy Issue Expected to Define the 2020 Session:
The budget!

Advice for Session:
Always be prepared.