Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday downplayed growing concerns that President Donald Trump is putting Florida’s coastal waters back in play for oil exploration.
Visit Florida would stay in business for at least eight more years under a measure the Senate is set to approve next week.
But as lawmakers approach budget talks, the House continues to support closing the embattled tourism-marketing agency this fall.
The Senate on Wednesday positioned a bill (SB 178) for a vote on April 17 that would allow the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, better known as Visit Florida, to continue operating beyond Oct. 1. Under state law, the agency must be reauthorized or it will go away on that date.
Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday defended his selection for state surgeon general amid scrutiny about a past sexual-harassment investigation at the University of Florida.
“My thing is, if we have a public health issue, I want somebody that is going to be able to protect the people of Florida,” DeSantis said during a morning appearance at the Collier County Administrative Building in Naples. “If we have other challenges, like opioids, I want somebody that’s going to be able to do a good job. To me, that should be the focus of this.”
A move to make it harder to change the Florida Constitution was backed along party lines Monday by a House committee, with supporters saying it would lessen the influence of “outside interests.”
But the proposal (HJR 57) to require a higher percentage of votes to approve constitutional amendments advanced without support from Democrats and --- according to bill sponsor Rep. Rick Roth --- lukewarm backing from House leaders.
The Florida Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a $90.3 billion state spending plan for next fiscal year, despite concerns about the federal government’s failure to provide anticipated relief after Hurricane Michael.
Senate Democrats also raised alarms about mental-health funding for students and redirecting money from large teaching hospitals to for-profit facilities, but in the end, they lent their support to the budget.
“This is one of the more difficult budget years I’ve ever experienced,” Senate President Bill Galvano said.
A move to eliminate Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system advanced Monday in the Senate, though a similar House proposal has not been heard as the annual legislative session reaches its halfway point this week.
The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee voted 5-3 to approve the Senate bill (SB 1052), which sponsor Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, expects to be worked into any broader insurance package that emerges in the second half of the session.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ call to ban “fracking” advanced Tuesday in the House and Senate as environmentalists argue the proposals don’t go far enough and the petroleum industry fights to allow the controversial drilling technique.