Sixty Days for 5.1.23 — A prime-time look at the 2023 Legislative Regular Session

Red Tally 6
What’s inside? All things Session.

Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2023 Legislative Regular Session:

The Last 24

Florida lawmakers are set to add nearly $670 million in spending for member projects, boosts to programs and increases in agency funds for salary hikes as part of the last step in the budget negotiations. The supplemental funding lists, known colloquially as “sprinkle lists” from the House and Senate were agreed to Monday. The largest items were $38 million for the Department of Corrections to give bonuses to help keep guards in prisons with high vacancy rates for positions, $32.3 million for the graduate medical education program to produce more doctors and $31.8 million to increase the reimbursement rates for nursing homes. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Near the finish line: Top budget writers for the House and Senate held what may be their penultimate meeting, swapping final offers that are aimed at settling outstanding issues left in the health and human service portion of the budget.

Where it stands: Headed into the last week of the 2023 Session, some priority bills aren’t aligned. Here’s a quick look at the highest-profile question marks.

Back at ya: The state-appointed Central Florida Tourism Oversight plans to countersue Disney in state court.

‘Worst of the worst’: Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation (HB 1297) that would allow for a two-thirds jury vote for the execution of child rapists.

Rip and tear: Former President Donald Trump is ripping Florida’s certain-to-be-signed elections bill (SB 7050), saying it “guts” so-called “election integrity.”

Slight delay: A $570 million pot of money derived from a defunct Hillsborough County sales tax could sit in the Department of Revenue for another year.

Prison pay: The House wants an additional $65 million for the staff at Florida prisons. But the Senate still has that money locked away.

WFH life: A budget proviso offer shows both chambers agreed to a change in state statute that would allow Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez to set up an HQ in Miami-Dade.

The worst Skittles: DeSantis is moving quickly to sign legislation that would crackdown on cash bail and “rainbow fentanyl.”

Mayo money: Legislators have agreed to increase funding for the Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Program, as well as increase the number of academic cancer centers that can qualify.

Never forget: The Senate has included $1.5 million for the Florida Holocaust Museum in its supplemental funding initiatives.

Once bitten: It’s going to be harder to legally possess venomous reptiles in Florida, and if held illegally, the penalties for having those creatures are now set to increase under new legislation (HB 1161).

Operational support: As the deadline for a uniform budget nears, Senate and House lawmakers have agreed to $73.4 million in operational support spending for half a dozen state colleges and universities in fiscal 2023-24.

Bulls bucks: The University of South Florida is set to get $40 million in supplemental funding for operational enhancements and a new nursing facility at its Sarasota-Manatee campus, according to line items in the House and Senate sprinkle lists.

Panthers, too: Florida International University scored $10 million for “operational costs,” and Miami Dade College will be getting $5 million for a gym renovation in the Justice Center on the college’s North Campus.

Not-so-null set: New College of Florida won’t just get the $15 million promised by DeSantis. The House’s sprinkle list includes another $10 million in operational costs for the Sarasota school.

Port of call: House lawmakers are sending $15 million to JAXPORT for a crane replacement, which is one of the more high-profile Northeast Florida items on the 2023 sprinkle list.

Lawman money: The Legislature is budgeting millions for Florida’s top law enforcement agency to provide added “protective services” this year. That comes as DeSantis prepares to launch a high-profile campaign for President.

Lawman money, Part II: The House included $1 million in supplemental funding for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in its sprinkle list.

Fore: The Senate has passed legislation (HB 949) previously approved by the House to impose age limits on golf cart operation statewide.

Fire it up: New statewide protections (HB 1281) for gas stoves and other major fuel-powered appliances are one signature away from becoming law.

When it rains …: An extensive list of water projects receiving state funding includes two from Nassau County to address flood mitigation

… it pours: Millions of dollars are set to be sent across Florida to address water management needs under a Senate-proposed eight-page project list agreed to by the House over the weekend.

Quote of the Day

“Traveling across state lines with a family member is not human smuggling. I just hope that you will look deep into your hearts. … Just because you’re undocumented doesn’t make you less of a family member.”

— Democratic Rep. Susan Valdés, on a sweeping immigration bill (SB 1718) set for a floor vote in the House.

Bill Day’s Latest

3 Questions

The House and Senate have passed legislation prohibiting doctors from offering gender-affirming care to minors. The chambers aren’t in full agreement on some of the nuances in the bills, though, and the differences must be worked out by Friday when the Session ends. The House amended its transgender care proposal (HB 1421) onto the Senate version of the bill (SB 254) and sent it back to the Senate for consideration. The House’s version of the proposal bans private insurance companies from including coverage for any gender-affirming care in the policies they write in Florida. The Senate bill did not include that ban and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo said she disagreed with the provision. The House bill also prevents all minors from taking hormones for gender-affirming care after Dec. 31, 2023, even minors who are currently in treatment. The Senate bill allows the state’s medical boards to develop policies for minors who have already started taking the hormones. Rep. Randy Fine, co-sponsor of HB 1421, spoke with reporters about the bill Monday. 

Q: How are negotiations going on the transgender care bill?

I think the negotiations are ongoing. I think both sides agree that we have to pass a bill. And you know where we are — what both sides agree on — is better than the status quo. And we’re just seeing on some of these outstanding provisions if we can get to get to some resolution, but I think we’ll get there.

Q: Are there any concerns that it won’t happen?


Q: How are you leaning when it comes to the provision that bans insurance companies from providing coverage for transgender care?

Well, I think all of those things are important, but, you know, both bills end the practice of mutilating and castrating children. And so I think, you know, we’re 90% in agreement.  Obviously, you know, we would like some things that they didn’t have in their bill, and we’ll see where we land. But, you know, I think none of those issues are as important as the core issue of ending the practice of mutilating and castrating children.


Lobby Up

Over the weekend, the House and Senate agreed to tens of millions of dollars for projects and operational support at state colleges.

The biggest winner of the bunch was Pensacola State College, which is set to receive $23.9 million in general revenue for operational support, including $14.5 million in recurring funds.

Pensacola State College has Kevin Brown and Charles Meadows on payroll and has a lobbying contract with Brian Ballard and Chris Hansen of Ballard Partners by way of the Pensacola State College Foundation.

Meanwhile, about $5.3 million is heading to Northwest Florida State College. The Niceville-based institution sits just 60 or so miles east of PSC. The entire sum was marked down as recurring GR for operational support.

Brown also lobbies on behalf of NWFSC, while the college’s foundation is contracted with David Ramba, Allison Carvajal and Cameron Yarbrough of Ramba Consulting Group.

Finally, the College of Central Florida is set to receive a one-time $1.7 million appropriation to expand its Equine and Agribusiness Program — an appropriate venture considering the Ocala-based institution sits in the heart of horse country.

CFC has Sara Fennessy in-house. The College of Central Florida Foundation has contracts with Matt Bryan, Teye Carmichael, David Daniel, Jeff Hartley, Lisa Hurley and Jonathan Rees of Smith Bryan & Myers; Dean Cannon, Larry Cretul, Jessica Love, Kim McDougal and Kirk Pepper of GrayRobinson; and Frank and Tracy Mayernick of The Mayernick Group.

Breakthrough Insights

The Next 24

10 a.m. — The Senate holds a floor Session. Senate Chambers.

11 a.m. — The House holds a floor Session. House Chambers.

Full committee agendas, including bills to be considered, are available on the House and Senate websites.

Staff Reports


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