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2021 Legislative Report #9 DATE: March 25, 2021

Posted 18 days ago by Regina Pommer

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2021 Legislative Report #9

March 25, 2021

THIS WEEK IN REVIEW:

Week four of the 2021 Legislative Session is coming to a close. Next week start the halfway point in the 60-day sprint to get statues changed and the budget passed. The big news this week includes House and Senate initial budget roll-outs, vaccine distribution changes, and bills passing off the floor of each chamber while committees continue to meet.

On Thursday, the Governor announced the next two phases of vaccine rollouts across the state. Starting March 29, those age 40 and up can receive the vaccine. Then it will be available for everyone ages 18 and up starting April 5. According to the Governor, there are over 1,600 pharmacies offering the vaccine across the state. Another 400 Walgreens pharmacies will start offering it shortly as well. Florida has vaccinated over 70% of senior citizens at this time.

The House unveiled its initial version of the state budget on Thursday and it was very lean on funding and projects. The Infrastructure and Tourism Subcommittee Chair, Jayer Williamson, unveiled almost $18 million in cuts to state agencies. The departments affected include: Economic Opportunity, State, Transportation, Military Affairs, and Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In addition, the House also is making big cuts to the affordable housing programs, permanently taking 2/3 of the doc stamp revenue to use to fight sea level rise and provide wastewater grants. 

The Senate Agricultural and Environmental Appropriations Subcommittee released a budget that included $786 million for Everglades restoration, over $160 more than Gov. DeSantis requested in his proposed budget. According to Senator Ben Albritton, Chair of the Subcommittee, the budget doesn’t include one-time Federal funding that could also be used. Also included is $348 million for loan programs to improve drinking and wastewater as well as $50 million for beach restoration projects.

The fifth week of Session will begin Monday, March 29, 2021 and the 2021 Legislative