2020 Legislative session

Florida Legislature
Florida House of Representatives

State lawmakers on Thursday approved a record $93.2 billion budget for next year, with attention already focused on a potential need to revisit the spending plan this summer as the novel coronavirus upends the economy.

On the last day of Florida’s annual legislative session, state lawmakers normally pass the budget for the next fiscal year and then adjourn “sine die” — which means, it’s over until next time.

Then dozens of people crowd into the rotunda between the House and Senate chambers in the Capitol building in Tallahassee, waiting to see the ceremonial ending: Each house’s sergeant at arms drops a handkerchief to the floor at the same time. It’s a tradition that goes back nearly a century.

As Florida’s 2020 legislative session comes to a close, lawmakers can celebrate the bills they passed. But hundreds of other proposals died along the way, including a bill that would have established a state-wide office of resiliency.

Oliva Backs THC Cap For Medical Marijuana

Feb 14, 2020
marijuana plants
Flickr Creative Commons

House Speaker Jose Oliva said Thursday he would like to pass legislation that would cap the allowable amount of euphoria-inducing THC in medical marijuana products, calling it a priority for his chamber. 

When Carol Pak-Teng, an emergency room doctor in New Jersey, hosted a fundraiser in December for Democratic freshman Rep. Tom Malinowski, her guests, mostly doctors, were pleased when she steered the conversation to surprise medical bills.

This was a chance to send a message to Washington that any surprise billing legislation should protect doctors' incomes in their battle over payments with insurers. Lawmakers are grappling over several approaches to curtail the practice that can leave patients on the hook for huge medical bills, even if they have insurance.

In a major victory for abortion opponents, the Florida Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would require parental consent before minors could have abortions.

House, Senate Divided On Medicaid Eligibility Issue

Feb 6, 2020

The Republican-controlled House and Senate are split about whether to permanently eliminate Medicaid retroactive eligibility for seniors and people with disabilities. 

Proposal Addresses Schools’ Use Of Baker Act

Feb 5, 2020
Woman addressing classroom full of children
Wikimedia Commons

Principals at Florida public schools would need to take additional steps before children can be removed from school grounds and involuntarily committed under the Baker Act, under a bill approved by a House panel on Tuesday. 

The Florida Senate is poised to approve legislation aimed at preventing local governments from banning the sale of certain types of sunscreen, fast-tracking a proposal that did not pass the Legislature last year.

Parental Consent Bill Advances In Senate On Roe V. Wade Anniversary

Jan 23, 2020

A Senate panel on Wednesday split along party lines as Republicans pushed through a bill that would require teenage girls to get consent from their parents before having abortions.

As state lawmakers ponder how -- and if -- to respond to teens’ skyrocketing use of electronic cigarettes, one university student is influencing the Florida Senate leader’s stance on the issue.

Senate President Bill Galvano said Tuesday he is reluctant to move ahead with changes to the state-employee health insurance program during the upcoming 2020 legislative session.

“I don’t foresee major modifications going into this session,’ Galvano, R-Bradenton said Tuesday. Florida was supposed to have started a major remodel of the program under a 2017 law.

That law required the Department of Management Services to begin offering employees a choice of four different health plans that varied in benefits and costs.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget proposal, released last month, provides Floridians with some insight into his health care priorities for 2020.

A Florida House committee passed a bill Tuesday requiring a minor to receive parental permission before getting an abortion.

The House Health and Human Services Committee approved the bill by a 12-6 vote.

Florida’s Republican lawmakers are looking at new ways to address climate change in the state.  It’s part of a shift in policy when it comes to addressing environmental issues.  The sea change comes as younger republicans ditch old policies, which included not even using the words climate change.

Florida Lawmaker Takes Aim At Health Care Titles

Oct 10, 2019
Rep. Ralph Massullo
News Service of Florida

A Republican lawmaker wants to crack down on the titles that health care providers use when they identify themselves to the public. 

Blue- Green Algae Task Force Creates ‘Roadmap’ For Florida Lawmakers

Oct 8, 2019
Amy Green/WMFE

A document discussed Monday by the state’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force should be viewed, members said, as a broad roadmap for lawmakers with the 2020 legislative session less than 100 days away. 

Florida Lawmakers Renew Parental Consent Abortion Bill Attempt

Oct 2, 2019
Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach
News Service of Florida

After the idea passed the House in April but stalled in the Senate, a Republican lawmaker Tuesday began a renewed attempt to require parental consent before minors can have abortions in Florida.