Off and Running!
The Florida Legislature convened on March 5th to begin the 2019 Legislative Session. The Legislature will meet for 60 days, until May 3rd, to address the business of Florida. We anticipate a very busy session and for many high-profile issues to be addressed by the Legislature including hurricane relief to address the devastation to the panhandle region of Florida that was decimated by Hurricane Michael last October. Thus far, damages exceed $2.5 Billion and the state has spent over $1.2 Billion in state funding reserves to address hurricane recovery needs. In addition to hurricane relief, the Florida Speaker, Jose Oliva, has made health care reform with a focus on what he has coined the “health care industrial complex” a major priority for 2019. Other issues sure to consume the attention of the Legislature include criminal justice and sentencing reform, medical marijuana, state roadway infrastructure, and the state budget.
Briefly about the Budget….
At this time, we anticipate the first budget proposals by the House of Representatives and the Senate to be released the week of March 25th. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to meet with House and Senate Appropriations Committee members to discuss funding increases for Community Care for the Elderly, Home Care for the Elderly, Alzheimer’s Respite Care and Local Service Programs. The House Health Care Appropriations Committee has continued to hear local service program funding bills for local service programs seeking increased funding. To date, over $3.3 Billion in local project funding requests for programs in all areas from health care, transportation, environment, public safety and juvenile justice, etc., have been filed by House and Senate members. The competition for funding has grown fierce and programs and projects that have spent time developing Legislative Champions for their programs stand a much better chance of receiving state funding.