Tallahassee – With the close of candidate qualifying on June 17th, candidates for federal, state and local offices are now off and running with their sights on primary election day in late August followed by the general election on November 8th. Since most will be running in newly-drawn districts resulting from a once-every-decade remapping following the decennial census, it’s already proving to be a spirited and frenetic election season. While Gov. DeSantis drew no primary challenge in his reelection bid, he’ll face a general election challenge from likely one of the two best-known Democrats vying for their party’s nomination: Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried and former Governor, now a U.S. Congressman, Charlie Crist.
Meanwhile DeSantis has been busy charged with giving his approval – or disapproval – to the 285 bills passed by the Florida House and Senate during their annual 60-day session which wrapped-up on March 14th. Topping the list was Florida’s record $110-billion state budget which DeSantis finally approved on June 2nd -- but only after vetoing another record $3.1-billion in line items citing prudence in the face of a slowing economy and mounting inflation. As of this writing the Governor still has close to four dozen bills still waiting on his desk before he can finally close the books on this year’s lawmaking.
In addition to work on their spending plan for FY 2022-23, the single task lawmakers are required to tackle each year, other top priorities included state legislative and congressional reapportionment, illegal immigration, voting rights reform and a controversial Parental Rights in Education bill that led to a high-profile face-off between the Governor and Disney.
The Legislature’s final adjournment also saw the end to yet another attempt to repeal and replace Florida’s no-fault/personal injury protection insurance system replacing it with a mandatory bodily injury coverage requirement. Bills addressing the issue in both the House and Senate passed through each of their first committees of reference, only to remain stalled in their next committees, where they sat without further action until the Legislature adjourned, effectively killing the idea yet again.
It was another busy session in the health care arena addressing a variety of issues. Here’s a look at issues of interest to the profession that saw attention and action.