The Florida Legislature has officially kicked off the 2017-A Special Session. Below are some the big takeaways from day one of Special Session 2017-A:
- The House Appropriations Committee and Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee passed their respective versions of economic development and tourism marketing bills. Both bills include the three priorities outlined in the letter Mark Wilson sent to members of Legislature yesterday morning.
- The above Senate bill related to economic programs was scheduled to be heard late yesterday in the Appropriations Committee but was temporarily postponed; it will now be heard in this morning’s Appropriations meeting. The House bill now heads to the House floor.
- The “call” or scope of Special Session 2017-A was expanded to included medical marijuana. It appears that an agreement on the issue between the House and Senate is close. Florida Chamber-backed language preserving employers’ right to insist on a Drug Free Workplace is included in both the House and Senate legislation. The House’s bill was heard and passed out of a late Health & Human Services meeting yesterday. The Senate bill will be heard in Health Policy this morning.
- The Senate voted to override a veto of the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP), which is funding for public schools. The Senate’s new FEFP bill will be heard in this morning’s Appropriations meeting. Public school funding is considered “must pass” legislation before the end of the State’s fiscal year on June 30.
- While House activity has remained more tightly focused on these topics, additional Senate bills were filed on hospital funding, veto overrides and even firearms, as well as a host of amendments to the economic programs legislation.
Today, we can expect another eventful day that could provide greater clarity on the length of Special Session 2017-A, and whether or not it will result in Special Session 2017-B. As indicated above, the Senate will take up its medical marijuana, economic development and tourism, public education and hospital funding bills before going on the floor at 2 p.m. The House is scheduled to be on the floor beginning at 10:30 a.m. As always, the Florida Chamber will continue to keep you informed and advocate for the policies necessary to enhance competitiveness and secure Florida’s future.