Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls issued a joint proclamation Wednesday, paving the way for lawmakers to return to Tallahassee for a Special Session on gambling.
The Legislature is scheduled to reconvene May 17–21 to take up a new gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.
The 75-page document will determine the long-term future of gaming in the state and the Legislature must ratify the compact before it goes into effect.
Before meeting, lawmakers will attend several meetings to orient themselves with the subject. Lawmakers will learn the history of gaming in Florida, the present situation on gaming and tribal compact details.
The classes will be held May 11 and 12.
“From the beginning, our goal has been to make sure you have all the information you need, before you need it,” the proclamation says. “We believe these courses will provide the necessary framework to have a productive and efficient Special Session, as well as allow ample opportunity to have your questions answered.”
If blessed, the compact is expected to bring the state $2.5 billion in new revenue over the next five years and $6 billion through 2030.
The Special Session will also address three gaming bills. Two bills would establish a gaming commission. The third would remove the live racing requirement for certain gaming permit holders.
Special Session committee assignments have yet to be determined, according to the proclamation.
Notably, the Capitol Complex will be open for Special Session. Moreover, it will operate without the stringent COVID-19 protocols implemented throughout the 2021 Legislative Session.
“The mask, testing, and social distancing protocols that were in place for Regular Session will not be applied in Special Session,” the proclamation adds.
Throughout Session, in-person attendance was limited mostly to lawmakers and reporters.
Visitors, meanwhile, were permitted inside under limited circumstances and when participating in the legislative process.
Other times they were required to provide public testimony across the street at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center via livestream.
The Capitol doors have remained closed to the public since last March.
A copy of the joint proclamation is featured below.