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Legislative Leaders Lay Out Logistics During Session Open

Sascha Cordner

The 2015 Legislative session started today with opening statements from the House of Representatives and the Senate.

House speaker Steve Crisafulli says during the 60-day session lawmakers will work to improve the state by implementing a joint set of priorities developed in partnership with Senate President Andy Gardiner. Five primary concerns are on the table for discussion including the governor’s plan for tax cuts.

“The house is eager to provide Floridians with a broad base in meaningful tax cuts. Chairman Gates will be leading our efforts in this charge. It is my hope that we will pass a tax package that will surpass last year’s $500 million cut,” Crisafulli said.

Crisafulli and Gardiner are also working on Florida’s water conservation amendment. They say transparency will be the best way to achieve accountability in spending more than $700 million generated by Amendment 1, a topic that’s already the subject of fights in the legislature.

Meanwhile President Gardiner says addressing the needs of people with what he calls unique abilities, is a major priority. Gardiner’s son has Down syndrome.

“These are all very very important issues and Senator Lawson, when he was here, talked a lot about rarely will we be remembered for what we say but we will be remembered for what we do. These are things that are just very very dear and very important and I’m forever grateful for the Senate in their support of these issues,” said Gardiner.

Gardiner also says the senate will consider a Medicaid expansion and both chambers have already started work to scale back the state’s standardized testing system.