2020 legislative session

Florida Lawmakers Agree On $92B Budget Deal

Mar 15, 2020
A pile of U.S. Dollar bill notes
Sharon Mccutcheon / Unsplash

Legislative leaders completed a roughly $92 billion budget on Saturday afternoon, settling numerous education and health care issues as they fine-tuned the state spending plan in anticipation of an economic hit from the novel coronavirus.

Senate budget chief Rob Bradley and his House counterpart Travis Cummings said the fiscal plan could be available to the public Sunday evening or early Monday, setting off a 72-hour cooling off period. Lawmakers will return to Tallahassee Wednesday or Thursday to vote on the budget before sending it to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Florida lawmakers are reexamining their budget as fears of Coronavirus begin to impact the state’s tourism-driven economy. The state’s top legislative leaders want to funnel more money into the state’s rainy day fund in case those worries dampen revenues. 

Several high-profile issues appear doomed in the Florida legislature.  Among them: plans to limit the amount of THC in medical marijuana; an effort critics decry as union-busting; and a plan for the state to regulate vacation rentals. Senate President Bill Galvano says those issues may be gone-ers.

Josh Applegate / Unsplash

Florida law lets people with concealed carry permits carry guns at religious institutions but not in schools. The House Judiciary Committee voted  12-5 Wednesday to allow concealed carry at religious institutions attached to or that share properties with schools--like churches and synagogues. 

Florida lawmakers appear to be done with bonus programs. The House and Senate have unveiled their proposed spending plans for the upcoming fiscal year, and neither proposal includes funding for teacher and principal bonuses.

Rich Pedroncelli, File / AP Photo

State estimates show Florida could save hundreds of thousands of dollars if it were to allow certain inmates to be released from prison early.

Victoria Dominguez

Visit Florida is fighting for its existence after last year’s legislative session brought devastating budget cuts to the tourism agency. However, its pleas for survival aren’t swaying one powerful lawmaker- House Speaker Jose Oliva.

A man in a dark suit, white shirt and blue tie sits at a table surrounded by microphones
Ryan Dailey / WFSU News

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano has been under fire for accepting campaign contributions from gun control advocates and for supporting a universal background check bill. Now his colleagues—Republicans and Democrats, are coming to his defense. 

Governor Ron DeSantis unveiling his fiscal year 2019-2020 budget to the media.
Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to strengthen his authority over two big state agencies. He wants the Legislature to give him exclusive control over two of the biggest bureaucracies that serve Florida motorists and are responsible for environmental protection -- and not everyone thinks it's a good idea. 

Lieutenant Gov. Jeanette Nunez speaks during a press conference in 2019.
Governors Press Office / Executive Office of the Governor

Florida’s Lieutenant Governor has been making the rounds, promoting Governor Ron DeSantis’ legislative agenda. WFSU's Lynn Hatter sat down with Nunez recently to get her take on some of the big decisions state lawmakers are facing.