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The wrangling begins as Florida's legislative session gets underway

News Service of Florida

Florida’s 2022 legislative session begins today, and top of the agenda is passing a state budget and redrawing the state and national electoral districts.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing a $99.7 billion spending plan.

“We’re going after critical race theory. We’re fighting back against [President Joe] Biden’s mandates. We’re fighting back against illegal immigration,” DeSantis said over the weekend.

With a 24-16 majority in the Florida Senate and a 78-42 majority in the House, Republicans are likely to achieve many of their policy priorities, among them restricting immigration, giving parents the right to sue school boards that violate state laws, and giving bonuses to teachers and first responders. Another top priority is the state’s troubled prison system, which has long struggled to attract and keep employees.

Northeast Florida lawmakers will play a role on both sides of the aisle.

Taking the helm on the immigration bill is Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach. He is co-sponsoring a bill that further cracks down on “sanctuary cities” and severs business with transportation companies that bring undocumented immigrants into the state.

Democrats are bracing for conflict.

“What we can expect from Republicans in this session will be culture wars that distract us from the real issues at hand,” Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, said yesterday.

Driskell, who is policy chairwoman for the House Democratic Caucus, said Democrats will focus on “pocketbook issues that people care about the most.”

Democrats are aiming to lower property insurance rates, increase affordable housing availability and protect access to abortion.

Jacksonville Democrat Tracie Davis says she’s focused on opposing DeSantis’ effort to create a special office to investigate election-related crimes, saying the 2020 election was smooth and the effort to gin up controversy is merely “political theater.”

The legislative session will kick off with DeSantis’ annual State of the State address, which will air live on WJCT News 89.9 at 11 this morning.

Information from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Copyright 2022 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.

Sydney Boles
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