TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Legislature began its 2020 session Tuesday, as it prepared to consider hundreds of bills, including pay raises for teachers, climate change and immigration -- as well as approving the billions of dollars required to keep the country’s third-most populous state operating.
The Senate banged into session first, opening its session by commemorating the Dec. 6 shooting at the Pensacola naval air station that killed three sailors.
Addressing a joint session of the state House and Senate, Gov. Ron DeSantis during his state-of-the-state urged cooperation.
"This is Florida’s season of opportunity,'' DeSantis told lawmakers. "We have the chance to build on a strong foundation, the chance to face the challenges before us and the chance to leave a legacy of success that will benefit our people now and in the future.''
In his opening remarks, Senate President Bill Galvano, a Republican, reminded his chamber of the weighty responsibility lawmakers have.
“As we go into this session let us continue to show our constituents that we can exchange and debate ideas while maintaining civility and decorum,” he told the chamber. "That we can problem solve together. That we can put aside personalities and politics for good policy. And, that we are not a microcosm of Washington, D.C., but instead will continue to be an example for Washington, D.C.''
In the House, Speaker Jose Oliva was far more policy-oriented in his opening remarks, indicating that health care would be a key issue in his final session leading the 120-member chamber.