Senate Majority Leader Ben Albritton said working Floridians were the true winners in this year’s Legislative Session.
“Freedom reigns in the Sunshine State,” the Wauchula Republican said.
“Last fall, hardworking families across Florida elected Republicans to every level of government by overwhelming margins. We got the message loud and clear. Floridians expect our 28-Senator Republican supermajority to stand up to the (Joe) Biden economic agenda that is ruining our economy, and the Hollywood social scheme that is trying to shorten childhood and replace the role of parents.”
Albritton touted an agenda of social conservative wins, but also relief for agriculture and storm-struck regions.
He spearheaded Hurricane Ian and Nicole recovery bills in the Senate during both Special Sessions early this year and through the Legislative Session proper. That included directing $4 billion in various programming in the wake of the historic storms. He also fought to set funding aside for revolving loans for local governments, and to help regions prepare for upcoming disasters.
But he noted that even while funding those challenges, the state passed significant tax cuts and closed the year with historic reserves.
“Our 2023-2024 balanced budget provides for critical and historic investments in workforce housing, hurricane recovery and preparedness, and agriculture and the environment, all while providing $2.7 billion in tax relief for Floridians and $10.9 billion to bolster our state reserves,” Albritton said. “Unlike in Washington, we keep it simple, spend less money than you make and give back what you can.”
A citrus farmer by trade, Albritton has made agriculture a hallmark of his legislative agenda, and said he returns home with plenty to show for it.
“Through this year’s budget we placed a specific emphasis on increasing funding for both agriculture and aquaculture in Florida,” he added.
“We invested $35 million into Florida’s citrus industry so that our citrus growers, who produce Florida’s signature crop, have the tools they need to meet the challenges they face on a daily basis. We also invested $10 million for the construction of artificial reefs in the Florida Keys to enhance Florida’s vibrant fishing industry and maintain our good stewardship of our beautiful natural environment.”
“We took critical steps to protect the innocence of our children and stand firm in defense of the right to life,” Albritton said.
“We protected children from harmful gender reassignment surgeries and prohibited these surgeries for our children, we prohibited harmful material from being taught in our schools and further empowered parents to be in the driver’s seat on their children’s education, and we recognized the value of all life by prohibiting abortions after six weeks.”
He also touted a school choice expansion.
“We expanded opportunities for every Florida Student through historic legislation establishing universal school choice in the State of Florida,” he explained.
“Students and families will now have a full array of educational pathways to choose from as they decide the education best fit for their unique needs. We also recognized the dignity of work and the value of our trades as we enacted critical workforce education legislation that will give Florida students the opportunity to enter into a high-paying career immediately after graduating high school.”
Overall, Albritton suggested Florida presented a blueprint for governing that stands in stark contrast to Democratic leadership in Washington.
“Over the last 60-days our Republican Senators delivered meaningful legislation that respects the dignity of work and the rights and responsibilities of parents. We passed common sense tax cuts that will increase access to workforce housing, so more hardworking folks can live locally, in the heart of the communities they serve,” he said.
“We expanded school choice opportunities so the money taxpayers dedicate to education now actually follows the student, and every parent in every family across Florida can decide where it is spent. We also defended the right of life for innocent unborn children, with resources and support for parents who chose life for their babies.”
And he hinted someone from Florida may soon president those differences clearly on a national stage as the nation prepares for a presidential election, a seeming allusion to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ambitions.
“While Joe Biden plans another campaign from his basement, the Republican-led Florida Legislature passed strong legislation to keep Florida free from masking, testing, and vaccination mandates. Individual rights and liberties are worth fighting for, and we will never allow one-size-fits-all mandates that threaten parental rights and the ability of Floridians to provide for their families,” Albritton added.
“The Florida Legislature has always been a voice for hardworking Floridians across our state who are just trying to provide for their families and don’t have the time or the resources to fight back against unconstitutional mandates. Florida stands strong as a refuge for families and businesses who want to live in freedom.”