During week 3 of the 6 interim committee weeks, the Florida House and Senate heard a few bills but again focused mostly on workshops and presentations during the committee hearings. This week, Senator and previous Florida Chamber Most Valuable Legislator Kathleen Passidomo was designated as Senate President beginning after the election in 2022. She has been a great friend of the Florida Chamber, Florida job creators and free enterprise, and we look forward to working with her and Speaker Designate Paul Renner when they lead the House and Senate.
Here is a rundown of the committee hearings most important to the Florida Chamber this week:
- The Florida Department of Management Services and the Reason Foundation addressed the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee to comment on the current and future sustainability of the Florida Retirement System (FRS). The FRS is better funded than most states, hovering around 85%, due to its strong foundational features. Those features include default options that optimize the selection to the majority of new members, affordable and flexible investment options and reductions in the growth of unfunded pension liabilities. However, there is room for improvement. Increasing the FRS to be fully funded at 100% and increasing investment plans contributions are both issues the Senate may hear this Legislative Session.
- The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education held a panel on reading improvement. The Legislature wants to continue their work on a plan to improve reading proficiency among students before they reach third grade and improving reading interventions by teachers. The committee discussion centered around pilot programs and how to incentivize teachers.
- Finally, in House Environment, Agriculture, and Flooding there was an update on 404 permitting implementation. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Deputy Secretary John Truitt told the committee that there has been vast improvement in the speed and number of applications being processed since DEP assumed control from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The Florida Chamber Litigation & Regulatory Reform Center has engaged in a federal lawsuit to defend the program’s delegation to the state, a key priority of the Florida Chamber in 2018.
The Legislature takes a week off next week and returns the week of November 1st for the fourth committee week.