The legislature adjourned Sine Die on May 5th after passing 356 bills and a record $117 billion budget.
Against the backdrop of a post-election climate that saw Florida shift further red and the Governor’s pursuit of higher office, lawmakers navigated a range of pressing issues. With a renewed focus on education, healthcare, the environment, criminal justice, and economic development, Florida's policymakers displayed their dedication to shaping a prosperous future. Several controversial bills made national headlines, including legalizing permitless carry, a 6-week abortion ban, removal of DEI in post-secondary education, and DeSantis’s battle with Disney.
With Republican supermajorities in both the House and Senate and a Governor who was reelected by a substantial margin, the landscape was set for policy to move with fewer obstacles than in past years. Governor DeSantis’ aspirations for higher office greatly influenced the legislative landscape. Although he chose to withhold the official campaign announcement until after the session ended, it was widely expected that he would run for president in 2024.
This session featured new legislative leadership, with House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo taking the gavels in their respective chambers. The new legislative leadership worked closely with the Governor’s office, and this session passed without any significant disagreements between the two.
In past years, we usually see some level of disagreement among executive and legislative priorities, but this session was different. There was a great deal of consensus among legislators and the Governor, resulting in many of his proposed initiatives passing into law. Although the new leadership teams did successfully implement some of their own priority bills, such as affordable housing reform, much of this year’s action was driven by the Plaza level rather than the fourthfloor leadership.
For a complete highlight of all items that passed this legislative session in Tallahassee that are relevant to the construction industry, click here for the full report.