Florida’s legislative session is quickly approaching. Beginning Tuesday, the state House and Senate will gather to discuss proposed bills. Some of the bills on the table include Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new teacher compensation plan to raise minimum pay to $47,500 and State Rep. Brett Hage’s consumer protection plan that would penalize unlicensed vendors who take money from customers without providing promised work. Changes to taxes, transportation and health care are among the top discussions. Florida’s lawmakers will discuss and vote on proposals for 60 days after the legislative season begins. The regular session is slated to end March 13. Most of these bills will go into effect July 1. Here are some of the hot topics:
In additional to the annual budgetary tug-of-war, certain tax changes also are on the table. One bill, HB 141, would assist teachers making less than $45,000 and low-income seniors age 65 or older by stopping tax collectors from charging certain property taxes and authorizing debt collection. Another protection, which could come through SB 334, would take tourism tax revenue in certain counties to promote or incentivize film or television productions in Florida.
A range of proposals surround public safety this year. SB 378 would repeal parts of the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law, such as having to prove personal injury protection insurance coverage to register private passenger vehicles with the state. In a different vein, HB 425 would provide cost-of-living adjustments for Special Risk Class members — law enforcement, firefighting, criminal detention and medical care employees — of the Florida Retirement System.
Revamping Florida health care has been a legislative priority for a while, with a large focus on curbing prescription drug prices. One bill, CS/SB 58, proposes a program to allow and facilitate people to donate certain prescription drugs and supplies to eligible patients. In SB 52, legislation would continue to require the Agency of Health Care Administration to pay for Medicaid-covered services on retroactive eligibility timeframes.
A few proposed bills focus on the environmental impact of additional infrastructure and preservation of Florida nature. Environmental legislation includes HB 1061, an aquatic preserve-focused bill to designate preserves and dictate boundaries. It would also require the Board of Trustees of Internal Improvement Trust Fund to adopt preserve protection rules. Additionally, HB 1067 aims to protect certain declassified species under the Endangered Species Act.