Florida Legislative Preview

Tuesday the gavel will drop on Florida’s annual legislative session. Controversial issues will be on the front burner.

60 days of bills, meetings, and maybe some new laws await Florida legislators. The 2014 session starts Tuesday, with everything from Pot to Pensions on the table for lawmakers to consider.

“We have concerns about the accountability in this state”, says Senator Dwight Bullard of Miami. “We have not gotten back to our historical highs of over $7,000 per student.”

The senate’s democratic caucus laid out its session priorities Monday. The state’s budget is always priority one. Dems will support a proposed rollback for 2009 tag fees, but slammed the “historic education budget” that Governor Rick Scott is touting.

Medical marijuana will get high consideration from the House and Senate. A ballot referendum will be decided by voters in November. Something that some members of the legislature, like Senate President Don Gaetz, view as going too far.

“Those proponents have used children with seizures and dying patients as bait to get folks to vote for a far more permissive and, I think, ill-advised amendment.”

red light cameras, gun laws, and gaming will all be dissected by members of both chambers over the next two months.

The senate gaming committee will take a gamble on expanded gaming. A three bill package includes the creation of “the Department of Gaming Control” and would allow Las Vegas style resort casinos that could offer blackjack and other table games.

Sen. Maria Sachs/(D) Palm Beach County wants to “Leave it up to the people of the counties to decide whether they want to bring in this new business, or whether they want to expand the gaming that’s already in their county, or they don’t want it at all.”

By the time the hanky drops on the 2014 session, Florida is expected to have more than 200 new laws.

Governor Rick Scott will start session by giving his “state of the state” address tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.

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