Tallahassee – Lawmakers released the final drafts of their state government spending plans as they reached the halfway point of their 60-day annual legislative session this Wednesday. As Florida begins to emerge from the darkest days of the pandemic, the economic outlook for the Sunshine State is proving to be extraordinarily sunny. That’s encouraged the House to proposing a record-setting $105.3-billion spending plan while across the lobby the Senate is recommending a slightly more lofty $108.6-billion, also a record setter. In the remaining four weeks of their session, lawmakers will begin the process of resolving the differences between their plans, meeting in a series of joint Senate-House conference committees to reach a consensus on a single plan to take to their respective floors for a final vote before they can adjourn.
While committees continue to meet for the next several weeks, they will start to wrap up their deliberations as more time is devoted in both houses on the floor debating bills and moving them toward final passage. While anything is still possible, bills that have not started their journey through the committee process very soon will lose their chance for a final blessing. Nevertheless, here’s a look at some of the issues still very much alive – plus several others now on life support -- based on lawmaker’s actions during the fifth week of their nine-week session.