The 2024 Legislative Session officially began on Tuesday, January 9, with lawmakers convening at the Capitol for the opening Session and to hear from the Governor, Speaker, and Senate President. Legislators opened the session amid a dangerous line of storms that had caused other government buildings besides the Capitol to close.
More than 1700 bills have been filed for this session, with lawmakers only constitutionally required to pass one – the state budget. Some of the big issues we will see this year include education deregulation, addressing healthcare provider shortages and innovation, artificial intelligence, property insurance, social media regulation for minors, long-term impacts of Hurricane Ian, and tax relief.
This year differs from most as Governor DeSantis’ attention is divided between Florida and his presidential campaign. Speaker Renner and Senate President Passidomo are expected to use this opportunity to push through their priorities. Speaker Renner is seeking better energy independence for Florida and age restrictions on social media, and President Passidomo is pushing a major health policy to ease access to care and encourage more physicians to come to the state.
Compared to last Session, which began with both chambers having priority bills close to floor voters, relatively few bills were heard during interim committee weeks this year. However, the Legislature is now moving full steam ahead with a busy few week scheduled. The day before the session is usually a quieter travel day. This year, however, Monday kicked off with several committee meetings as legislators get to work on moving bills.
With, Senate President Passidomo’s top priorities are moving swiftly through the Senate. The Senate passed three education deregulation bills this week, setting up negotiations with the House. Passidomo’s “Live Healthy” initiative, which seeks to bolster Florida’s healthcare workforce and infrastructure by directing hundreds of millions of state dollars in that direction, passed its final committee stop and is now ready to be heard on the floor.
HB 41/SB 612 – FRACCA’s top priority bill, HB 481 passed its first committee in the House unanimously, the Civil Justice Subcommittee. Rep. Maggard, sponsor of the bill, offered two amendments after negotiations. The first amendment removed the recuperation of attorney fees for those challenging the building code. This issue will need to be vetted further over the summer. As well as an amendment that would make sure a breaker lock is installed as service is performed on the line and load side of the disconnect switch. It ensures safety for both the contractor and the consumer. The Senate SB 612 by Sen. Hooper is on Tuesday in its first Committee of Reference, Commerce, and Tourism.
SB 460 Career and Technical Education by Sen. Simon and Sen. Perry is another priority bill of FRACCA. The bill is up in its first committee in the Senate on 1/17, the Education Pre-K12 Committee. The bill:
- The bill proposed by Senator Simon to amend various statutes related to career and technical education (CTE) in Florida.
- The bill aims to provide more opportunities and incentives for students to enroll in CTE courses that align with high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand industries and careers.
- The bill also seeks to establish partnerships between schools, postsecondary institutions, businesses, and other stakeholders to enhance the quality and relevance of CTE offerings and outcomes.
- The bill includes provisions to:
- Exempt minors from certain hazardous occupation restrictions if they have earned an Occupational Safety and Health Administration 10 certification and are supervised by a qualified person.
- Repeal the journeyman reciprocity statute and conform related provisions.
- Expand the annual career fair and industry recruitment day to include more employers and students from various industries and grade levels.
- Revise the mathematics standards to include specific curricular content for algebra, geometry, statistics and probability, number and quantity, functions, and modeling1.
- Weight grades in CTE courses the same as honors courses for grade point average calculation.
- Allow credits and certifications from CTE courses to satisfy graduation requirements and postsecondary admissions criteria.
- Review and update the strategic 3-year plan for CTE offerings and alignment with workforce needs and credentials.
- Publish information on postsecondary credits available to students who complete CTE courses or earn industry certifications.
- Create the Career and Technical Education Task Force to study the status and needs of CTE in the state and provide recommendations.
Rep. Snyder is carrying the House bill, HB 917, as the bill contains several of our priorities.
Ongoing conversations are still being had around direct funding for apprenticeships and allowing for an HVAC Sales Tax Holiday. We would like to encourage those wanting to get involved to reach out to their local lawmakers and encourage them to support these two bills.
Vice President of Government Relations & Community Affairs, RSA Consulting Group